College Basketball

Covered in dust, NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum renovation brings back memories

The Block S, from the original Tartan floor, that was the court from 1975 to 1991, has been exposed as work continues on Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of N.C. State Friday, June 12, 2015. The Tartan floor will be covered when construction is complete. Construction on the $35 million project started in March. It is expected to be complete by August 2016.
The Block S, from the original Tartan floor, that was the court from 1975 to 1991, has been exposed as work continues on Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of N.C. State Friday, June 12, 2015. The Tartan floor will be covered when construction is complete. Construction on the $35 million project started in March. It is expected to be complete by August 2016. ehyman@newsobserver.com

There’s almost as much dust as there is history in Reynolds Coliseum after the first round of renovations.

With about 3,000 seats cleared out in the north end of the coliseum, and the interior walls knocked down on both sidelines, the Old Barn looks more like the Old Airport Hangar.

The $35 million project on the N.C. State landmark began in March and is moving along on schedule. Seats from the first eight sections of the building were removed to make way for the N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame, which will occupy the third off Dunn Avenue.

The rest of the gym, with its red wooden seats still intact, will once again be used for women’s basketball, wrestling and volleyball after the project is finished. It is scheduled to be completed by August 2016.

But right now, the old building, getting its first major renovation since it opened in 1949, looks gutted and is covered in dust.

The tight hallways on the arena floor level are open and the marble entrance is covered with wood paneling. Even the Longines clock, a Coliseum fixture, has been stored for safe-keeping.

The wooden floor, which was installed in 2005, was chipped out and revealed the old rubberized Tartan surface. Both the men and women’s basketball teams played on that specialized, inch-thick surface (basically a basketball version of AstroTurf) from 1975 until 1991.

An old block “S” logo, one the school hasn’t used in decades, sits underneath the dust at midcourt. According to Tim Peeler, who has been an adviser in the hall-of-fame project and also serves as the schools’ unofficial historian, former men’s coach Norm Sloan had the floor installed after the team won the national title in 1974.

When coach Jim Valvano got the job in 1980, he liked the surface and kept it for his 10 seasons.

The construction crew, Peeler said, got about a three-inch swatch of the rubber surface up before it realized it would take too long to tear out. So it will stay, buried under the next version of a wooden floor that goes in before the 2016-17 season.

One feature that won’t be missed is the lack of air conditioning. The workers on the project will have to sweat through the summer, like kids who used to go to basketball camp there.

The duct work in the upper hallways has been removed and that’s where the building’s air-conditioning system will find a new home.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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