100 years in the making: NC State Bell Tower to get real bells

RALEIGH, N.C. - (WTVD) -- Students are hard at work on NC State's campus and so are construction crews at the bell tower. For the first time, the tower will actually have real bells.

We're used to hearing the chiming of bells ring from NC State's bell tower. Now the sound of hammering a construction is ringing throughout campus as well.

"It'll be this way for a while. What they're doing now is installing the scaffolding so they can get up and ensure the building is waterproofed," said Doug Morton, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities.

It's a project 100 years in the making. The idea was to always have real bells in the tower, but since it started ringing in 1949, it's all been from a speaker system.

Right now, there's an instrument called a carillon in another building and in the past, someone could play it manually, logging the songs played that day.

For the most part, the speakers are automated now. But by 2021, a $6.5 million donation from a Gastonia family will fully fund the tower's renovation and 55 bells will ring throughout campus.

"The bells will be there for lifetimes to come," Morton said.

For now, the bells will still chime but the lights that surround the tower have gone dark during construction.
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