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No More Slick Bricks

The Brickyard’s first major overhaul will replace its pavers — and improve drainage — for a safer stroll.

Students walking across the Brickyard won't have to slip and slide anymore as the spot is getting new bricks better designed for drainage.
Photograph by Scott Peters, courtesy of Special Collections, NC State Libraries

For more than 50 years, the Brickyard has been a beloved gathering spot on campus. Now, it’s about to get its first major facelift, one that will address a problem experienced by anyone who’s walked across it after a heavy rain. Landscape architect Richard Bell ’50 designed the area with alternating white and red bricks to be reminiscent of an Italian plaza, and the design has stood the test of time. But the lack of a good drainage system means pooling water and slick bricks.

A Brickyard Makeover

As part of the construction of the new Integrative Sciences Building, most of the bricks will be replaced by a new set of permeable pavers. Currently the bricks are placed side by side and set directly in the dirt. “Kind of an old school practice,” says Lynn Swank ’06 MR, project manager for design and construction.

The new bricks are designed to create space for drainage. “They come out of the kiln with little nubs or spacers around the perimeter, so when you lay them side-by-side they cannot fully abut,” Swank says. The whole thing will be set on a 2-foot-deep gravel bed connected to a drainage system. “We’re not going to have puddling water or slick spots.”

An ADA-Compliant Hallowed Place

In all, 431,500 new bricks will be installed. The project will be the final part of the construction of the Integrative Sciences Building, expected to be complete in 2026. The $180 million building, which will create space for interdisciplinary science research and teaching, is being constructed on the footprint of the old Harrelson Hall.

Swank says there is another plus to the project: The redo will allow the entire Brickyard to be ADA-compliant. Much of the area is not graded correctly to meet ADA standards. So what will happen to the old bricks? A lot of them are in bad shape, Swank says. Current plans call for them to be recycled or reused. 

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  1. Could students, graduates and faculty get some of the old bricks? I think it would be great to share them with the Wolfpack Nation!.