Demolition of NCSU bookstore sparks campus outcry

Posted January 19, 2011

— North Carolina State University's plans to replace its campus bookstore has spawned an online campaign to save the building.

Designed by former N.C. State architecture professor Milton Small, the bookstore was built in 1960, and supporters call it a campus landmark and an example of modernist architecture.

"I think it's a symbol of N.C. State. I mean, everyone knows where the bookstore is," said a student who identified herself only as "Hannah."

Replacing the bookstore is part of a campus master plan that's been in the works for two years, however, and demolition is scheduled for June. The plan calls for placing a new bookstore inside a renovated student center, opening up green space where the existing bookstore sits.

"It is time. We have issues with the building, from infrastructure to quality of space," University Architect Lisa Johnson said. "We're going to fold the student center and bookstore together and feel that's the best way to serve our student population."

N.C. State's enrollment has more than doubled since the bookstore opened a half-century ago.

"I think it's outdated, and it would be more efficient to rebuild it in the student center," student Wesley Albrecht said.

NCSU campus bookstore Demolition of NCSU bookstore sparks campus outcry

"It's an eyesore, and it's not as nice as it should be. Given the number of students here, it needs to be bigger," student Amber Williams said.

Yet, some students say the old bookstore is an icon that should be preserved.

"I wouldn't tear it down. I'd remodel it, give it a little update," student Jamar Jimmerson said.

Another N.C. State landmark is also scheduled for demolition.

Harrelson Hall, the round building in the middle of The Brickyard, will come down by 2015, officials said. Most classes have already moved out of the building, which is being used as temporary space for professors and classes as other buildings are renovated.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • stego24 Jan 24, 2011

    @ SaveEnergyMan, I believe work on the student center is planned to be completed with student fees.

    I'm in favor of both renovations or demos. Harrelson isn't just an eyesore but as a student I found it hazardous. The ramp and stairs both get too slick especially if it's been raining, I know several students who have gotten hurt falling down those stairs. The Bookstore is much too small and incorporating it into the student center makes sense and gives that building additional purpose.

  • 2DAMFAR Jan 20, 2011

    I think time to stop building, think of students at NCSU,(actually liked bookstore). Keep buildings as they are. There's no need for a new student center or of
    class 49,70,04,07

  • dmccall Jan 20, 2011

    The bookstore is hideous, as is so much of NCSU's campus. It makes a HUGE impact on recruiting, though NCSU people are blind to this enormous problem.

  • ecreek Jan 20, 2011

    Get rid of Harrelson hall. It's a true eyesore and almost no one I knew that went to State like the building. I think the brickyard would look much better without Harrelson being there. The bookstore, on the other hand, is kind of iconic for that side of campus and a great example of the architecture of the time. If it doesn't continue to be THE bookstore, it should be re-purposed as part of a student center or something. Definitely don't tear it down. Maybe some current/former students from the engineering and design schools could draw up a great plan to keep the building.

  • SittingBackContemplating Jan 19, 2011

    I graduated from UNC in 99, but my last 2 classes that I needed to graduate were taken at NCSU. I lived 2 blocks away from State's campus and so rather than having to commute to take my last 2 classes at UNC, I walked to my 2 classes at State. Both of the classes were in Harrelson and I loved that building. It did have it's quirks, but I liked walking round and round to get to my classes. I understand why they want to replace it but I'll still miss it.

  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 19, 2011

    Rebuild with what money???? Does the university feel it's more important to have pretty new buildings or to keep faculty and staff for teaching students? Unfortunately, looking at the design for new library on Centennial campus ( I know the answer to that question.

  • beachblues1 Jan 19, 2011

    Let's see, tear down a building for green space. Why not make it a student orientation center for new students or some other repurposed idea? I bet the students have a few good ideas even if the University does not.

  • pack_gurl Jan 19, 2011

    I feel given the budget problems that NCSU should continue to keep the old bookstore. It's not falling in.

  • MeadowWolf Jan 19, 2011

    Harrelson Hall was a mistake from the get-go...with all of the asbestos in the floor tiles, weird classroom shapes in the inner ring, and the unique 170 electrical grid, it should have been replaced years ago...The Bookstore is a different animal should be renovated and re-purposed imho...

  • bench Jan 19, 2011

    Harrelson Hall is a unique building, built much like the Guggenheim Museum in New York, with a spiral helix hallway leading to all floors. When I was a teenager growing up in Cary, I went into Harrelson Hall after hours to skateboard down the spiral ramp! That was about 35 years ago. :-)