Built in 1914, it once housed mechanical engineering “shop” classes such as woodworking and welding. In later years it became a headquarters for the university’s facilities operations such as keymaking and plumbing. Although its functions had nothing to do with students, it was smack dab in the middle of student activity.
But thanks to a 2009 renovation, Park Shops is now home to light-filled lecture halls, laboratories for classes such as anthropology and forensic analysis, and advising offices. A Port City Java café with arched windows and exposed brick walls provides a place for students to gather. A loading dock where white service vans once parked is now an inviting plaza with trees and benches that faces the new SAS Building, which is home to mathematics and statistics.
During the extensive renovation, architects gutted the building, removed wallboard and sandblasted the existing brick. Narrow gaps between the ceiling edges and the brickwork allow strips of light to wash over the bricks. The renovation also made use of skylights and included acoustical improvements.
Park Shops may not be home to machinery shops anymore, but it keeps its name. It was named for Charles Benjamin Park, a Raleigh native who graduated from the Raleigh Male Academy. A former machinist with the Seaboard Coastline Railroad, he was superintendent at the shops for nearly 50 years, and impressed students with model locomotives he constructed.
–Sylvia Adcock ’81
Campus Changes is a periodic series on redandwhiteforlife.com looking at changes to NC State’s campus. Some installments will look at major changes, such as the ongoing renovation of Talley Student Center, while others will look at smaller changes in various corners of campus.