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NC State University has a beautiful campus … and three new wolves

Walking around campus on this beautiful day, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could consider this place ugly.  Crab apples and pear trees are starting to bloom, the grass is green and the holly bright red!  Yet for several years our own students have voted NC State one of the least attractive campuses in the land.  Top 10, and that’s when top means bottom.


Efforts have been underway to make the campus “edges” more attractive and the project on Hillsborough Street is a great example.  While there is still a lot to do, it’s easy to see how the new design will really set the stage for a bright future.

Also exciting is the new wolfpack that’s about to make its presence known.  Just outside the Free Expression Tunnel in a new plaza area — an area I’m calling Wolf Plaza –  three new wolf statues will stand watch on the student body.

San Diego-based artist Michael Stutz created the over-sized “woven bronze” wolves that weigh in at approximately 1,200 pounds each and stand about five feet tall.   The sculptures are part of a continuing campus beautification project helped along by the bond referendum of 2000 that allowed NC State to address facility construction and renovation across campus.

“Now we have an opportunity to turn our attention to the spaces between buildings,” said Tom Skolnicki, university landscape architect.  “If you look across our campus, there are some iconic places, like the Bell Tower, the Brickyard and Holladay Hall.  As part of the physical master plan, we’re trying to create additional (iconic places) as well as improve the areas that have high visibility and high pedestrian traffic.”

An informal unveiling of the new wolf trio is planned for Tuesday, March 9, at 2 p.m. with free wolf cakes, er…I mean cup cakes, for all who attend.  But, no circus dogs.

Skolnicki said the wolves are among several ongoing projects that will continue into the summer.  Here’s the list:

Watauga Club Gateway: Watauga Club Drive is officially closed to through traffic – no more cutting through from Pullen to Hillsborough.  The roughly 30 yards of pavement has been turned into a grassy area that connects the Bell Tower Lawn with Primrose Hall. A “gateway” consisting of brick and metal will mark an entrance to campus.

Achievement Drive Gateway: Similar to the Watauga Gateway, the new construction at Achievement Drive and Centennial Parkway will welcome visitors entering Centennial Campus.

Court of North Carolina Steps and Outdoor Classroom: Renovations to the 1911 Building were designed to allow pedestrian traffic to flow easily through the building.  New steps will allow pedestrians to proceed immediately to the Court of North Carolina, rather than veering right or left to the sidewalks on either side.  The new steps also will frame the view of the 1911 Building looking from the direction of Leazar Hall.  A second outdoor classroom also will be added (the first is near the center of the Court, on the north side).

Chamberlain Drive Pedestrian Improvements (under design): The portion of Chamberlain Drive that runs north of Withers Hall will be closed to regular vehicle traffic, accommodating pedestrian traffic moving on this All-Campus path from the Brickyard to the Court of North Carolina.

So if things are getting pretty around here, it’s not just the weather.  Now if we could just get rid of those pesky “sandwich boards” I’d be a happy pup.

Passion Rules!

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