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Bookstore to add retail, seating space

Gene Noone | Friday, December 7, 2007

The Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore began renovations earlier this week to add nearly 2,500 square feet of additional retail and seating space to the building.

The most noticeable changes will be made to the general books and cafe areas, said Keith Kirkpatrick, director of retail management for the Bookstore.

“The University wants to have the best bookstore possible,” Kirkpatrick said. “We saw that the areas that could use the most improvement from a quantity and presentation side were the general books and cafe areas.”

The construction for the project should be completed by April 2008. The cosmetic details, like new carpeting and painting, are expected to be finished by fall 2008.

The new plans include several major changes to the store’s floor plan, the most complicated of which involves pushing the south wall out to the edge of the current outdoor arcade.

Kirkpatrick said the arcade was originally intended as a space for customer lines. However, because the building’s internal space provided enough room for longer lines, the arcade was not being used. The bookstore is now in the process of converting that space to retail.

The expansion of the south wall will add 1,000 square feet to the general books section and an additional 60 percent of the section’s current stock to the shelves. The expansion will allow more room for seating areas with comfortable sofa chairs.

The renovations also include expanding the current cafe toward the ceiling-high bay windows that overlook campus, Kirkpatrick said.

He said the northeast corner of the bookstore will be expanded to include more comfortable seating, flat screen TVs, a larger magazine and periodicals section and wireless Internet.

Other changes include adding a book information center to the front of the store, installing Internet kiosks throughout the store where customers can search for books and opening the double doors at the store’s northeast corner to students, faculty and staff.

The second floor will also undergo changes, including a reorganization of the student textbook section that will increase the space by 1,500 square feet and make it easier for students to find their books, Kirkpatrick said.

Even with such drastic renovations, Kirkpatrick said students and customers won’t be distracted by the construction when they visit the store.

“We wanted to make sure there would be as little interference as possible through the renovations,” he said. “We’ll be putting up drywall and blocking off the construction areas so that they don’t bother our customers.”

The future renovations were the result of recommendations made by staff, students and shoppers, Kirkpatrick said.

The renovations are being fully funded by the Follett Higher Education Group, which has managed the bookstore facility since it first opened in 1999 in its current location. The construction will be done in partnership with Notre Dame’s architecture office and the contractor of the University.

The store will be displaying several artist renderings of the completed project so customers can see what the changes will look like when finished.