For the first time in over five years I had the opportunity to tour the NC State campus today. When I was at NC State the Talley Student Center was a joke. There were about four places to eat with one of them being the Wolves Den cafeteria in the basement. My, how times have changed. Talley has had a complete overhaul and I am throughly impressed. In fact, this student union is better than the student union at Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC). What makes Talley so special is the openness and the desire to make students more social.
In years past the Talley Student Center was cramped and undesirable. In fact, I don’t think there was a single day of my undergraduate or graduate years in which I wanted to go to Talley to study or eat. As soon as I walked into the 2015 edition of Talley Student Center I wanted to pull out my MacBook and get to work. Upon entering the front door of Talley, near Carmichael Gymnasium, the student bookstore is on the right. Remember, the NC State student bookstore and Talley were two separate buildings prior to the redesign.
The bookstore has everything you could ever want including a Clinique counter. The amount of apparel and gifts has drastically increased since the move from the old bookstore location and the bottom floor of Harrelson Hall. If you are looking for anything Red and White I would strongly suggest checking out the new and improved NC State bookstore.
Beyond the bookstore there are a number of smaller coffee shops and dining options to the right hand side of the first floor. There is even a gigantic “fireplace” where students can mingle. The opposite side of the first floor of the Talley Student Center is amazing. Remember that old Talley had very few dining options. Now there is a Jason’s Deli, Talley Market, Red Sky Pizza, Los Lobos Mexican Grill, 1887 Bistro and a Tuffy restaurant. You can even get Howling Cow ice cream; which I strongly encourage you to do.
The first floor is where most of the students will be hanging out and trying to attract the opposite sex. You can rent Xbox and Playstation games or you can just find a corner chair to study for the next exam. If you want to get away from the commotion there are three more stories of conference rooms and study stations for the students. These study stations include dry erase boards, HDMI hookups to flat panel TVs and the newest innovations in ergonomic chairs. When I visit Talley again I will try to get pictures of all the different types of chairs.
There are dozens of private conference rooms and study areas for students to get together to study or complete projects. At every corner you will find a different study experience with pillows, cushions or couches. This is a complete 180 from the old Talley where there was nothing to make the students enjoy their study time.
In the next several months I am going to spend several hours in the Talley Student Center doing remote work. I will do my best to get some pictures and videos so you can experience how awesome the new NC State union really is. I would imagine this student center will quickly move up the list of the best student unions in all of the United States. I don’t think there is a student center in the state of North Carolina that rivals it.
The tower on the back side of Talley, close to the free expression tunnel is to represent the “smoke stakes” and the background with textiles. I think it is very well done.
This never happened at the Old Talley. Photo Credit
The old Talley
Here is the information provided by NC State.
- ✓ Spring 2011: Harrelson Hall upfitted to serve as interim student center and home to main location of NC State Bookstores
- ✓ June 2011: Bookstore and first relocated student center occupants move to Harrelson Hall
- ✓ August 2011: Groundbreaking; existing bookstore and outdoor commons area demolished in preparation for phase I construction
- ✓ Early 2012: Remaining relocated student center occupants move to Harrelson Hall; phase I construction begins
- ✓ Late 2012: Stewart Theatre closes for renovation
- ✓ June 2013: Phase II (renovation of existing structure and new construction on south side of building) begins
- ✓ Fall 2013: Phase I-A is complete: Lounge area, gaming area, information services and four foodservice operations are put into service, and renovated building opens
- ✓ Early 2014: Phase I-B is complete: Ballroom, meeting rooms, Senate Chamber, administrative offices and main kitchen are put into service
- ✓ Spring 2015: Phase II is complete: Main location of NC State Bookstores and remaining offices, meeting rooms and lounge areas are put into service
- ✓ Fall 2015: Talley Student Center complete. September 9th, 2015 is the “Grand Opening”.
Cost and Funding
- Budget: $120 million
- Project will be funded by student fees, rental revenue from retail operations, and other sources
- Student fee is phased in over several years and is capped at $290/year
- Efforts are under way to identify additional sources of funding, which may allow debt service fee to be reduced