Demolition of NCSU bookstore sparks campus outcry

Posted January 19, 2011 4:19 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2011 6:19 p.m. EST

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"I think it's outdated, and it would be more efficient to rebuild it in the student center," student Wesley Albrecht said.

"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.