For nearly 100 years NC State’s famous Memorial Belltower has been a bell tower in name alone but this is about to change. Current renovations will replace the current speaker system with a series of 55 bells. This will complete the original vision for the tower that was never fully realized. Construction began in late August 2019 and is scheduled to be finished a little over a year later during winter break 2020.
View of the Belltower with construction scaffolding.
The $6.5 million renovation project was made possible through the donations of Bill and Frances Henry in 2017. In addition to the bells, renovations will repair both interior and exterior water damage that was accrued over the years. The area surrounding the tower will also be changed to improve accessibility for visitors, especially for wheelchair users. This will be done through a new wide, gradually ascending path that goes from the parking lot on Pullen Road to the base of the tower.
Smaller quality of life changes are also being made to the tower. This includes a staircase that leads to the tower’s carillon room. The majority of the staircase will be metal but a more decorative stone portion will be placed in the Shrine Room. A new HVAC system will also be installed that is designed to protect the wood of the carillon. The old mechanical clockworks will be replaced with synchronized digital units.
Diagram of Belltower restoration work.
The Belltower will be fenced off and surrounded by scaffolding throughout the construction of the project. The project team does plan on providing access for the ring ceremony and other graduation-related activities as much as they can for those interested in taking graduation pictures. However, weather and other factors could affect access as it is a live construction site and no risk of anyone’s safety will be taken.
For more information on the Belltower and as well as construction details:
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