Restoration of North Carolina State University Memorial Belltower
Award of Merit
CONTRACTOR: New Atlantic Contracting
OWNER: North Carolina State University
LEAD DESIGN FIRM: Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects PA
STRUCTURAL, MEP ENGINEER SKA: Consulting Engineers Inc.
CARILLON CONTRACTOR: B.A. Sunderlin Bellfoundry
First completed in the late 1930s, North Carolina State University’s Memorial Belltower had always lacked a key component—the bells. Instead, four loudspeakers had for decades broadcast bell sounds across the campus. In the decades since, the iconic campus landmark had suffered from water intrusion and other issues.
In addition to resolving the water issues, this project restored the tower’s marble shrine room, installed new stairs and clockworks and added a new 55-bell carillon, one of the largest in the U.S. Anticipating that the 55 bells would represent the project’s longest lead item, the project team prepared an early bid package, which was awarded in April 2019, with the first bells arriving in June 2020.
Photo by Jim Sink Photography
Next, project contractors focused on the mission of cleaning and restoring the bell tower’s exterior. The team first evaluated the 115-ft-tall tower with drone photography, and then used those images to develop a second early bid package, which was awarded in August 2019.
Scaffolding erected around the entire exterior of the structure, from the plinth to the roof, provided workers with access to every granite block and mortar joint, helping crews to complete the work in time for the December 2019 ring ceremony.
The Memorial Belltower upgrade also was the first design-build project for both North Carolina State University and the North Carolina State Construction Office.