Major overhaul of historic Reynolds Coliseum almost finished at N.C. State

Reynolds Coliseum renovations in Raleigh, as shown in February 2016. (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The need for a nip and tuck was just not enough.

“You know the building was falling apart around us,” said N.C. State Deputy Athletic Director Michael Lipitz about the state of Reynolds Coliseum. “So after 66 years it needed to be redone and it’s too important a piece of N.C. State beyond athletics the entire university rallies around Reynolds.”

As a historic monument, the challenge was to bring Reynolds up to 21st century standards while keeping memories of the past fresh and alive.

“The whole theme of the project is blending the old and the new,” Lipitz said. “We’re trying to find a right balance between the historic elements and the modern amenities that everyone expects and I think we struck it pretty well and I’m excited to have people experience it.”

Pack faithful will quickly find this isn’t the old, cramped Reynolds to which they’d become accustomed. The original seats were 18 inches, the new ones are 22 inches, padded and with a cup holder.

And from those seats, the Reynolds floor will now burst with color. The white ceiling and new LED lights will brighten the floor like never before.

Old school, traditional fans will find blasts from the past still very much a part of the coliseum. Some of the original bricks in the lobby and concourse will remain.

“The character of the building is the same,” Lipitz said. “I think you’ll be able to remember those famous times and the personal memories everyone has of the building and still place yourself there. But hopefully in a much more comfortable environment.”

Air conditioning, passenger elevators, new concessions and bathrooms along with the N-C State Athletic Hall of Fame will make Reynolds Coliseum an arena to behold.

“This is a true modern arena now,” Lipitz said.

It cost $2.3 million to build Reynolds in 1949 and $35 million to renovate it today. The finishing touches of the renovation will be made in late September or early October.

Those sports that will complete there are women’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling. The first sporting event to be played at the renovated Reynolds Coliseum will be a volleyball match in September.

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