By Stephen Ogden
“The first place I visit, when on a strange campus, is the bookstore. It tells me all I need to know about the quality and commitment of the institution,” said Daniel J. Boorstin, former Librarian of Congress.
According to Lisa Kowalski, who oversees the bookstore as KUSSI’s Executive Director, Boorstin’s quote has a lot of meaning: “Our organization’s mission is to serve KU students, and we take great pride in doing so,” she said. “The Bookstore is an important destination for past, present and future students alike.”
After 20 years, a much-needed renovation will finally begin at the end of the current semester.
Starting this summer, the bookstore will be gutted to allow for a total renovation of the space. “This renovation project enhances our ability to help students succeed, which strengthens our role in recruitment and retention,” said Kowalski.
“We want our new store to project the progressive image of our University,” she said. “One that exemplifies a forward thinking organization that is capable of meeting the changing needs of a diverse student population.”
Carol Althouse, a KU Bookstore employee of almost 25 years, is looking forward to the changes. “I am really excited about the remodel. I can’t wait to see the new changes. We are going to have a new name as well. It will be exciting for students coming back in the fall,” Althouse said.
Another employee, Christina Fritz, said, “It definitely needs a spruce up. Students are excited for it too. It will look more modern.”
Fritz also said, “Space is the biggest concern—and clutter. There is a lot coming at you when you walk in. The new layout will help with the organization, though we may not be getting more space.”
She is eager to see the finished product.
Marketing coordinator Amanda Schaeffer said that the bookstore will be open during renovations.
“We will operate various mini-shops conveniently located in the student union,” she said. “One location will be dedicated to textbooks, summer session course materials and supplies.”
A second location will be a dedicated spirit shop, where KU apparel and gift items will be located. There will also be a third location for textbook web orders.
The bookstore is run by KUSSI (Kutztown University Student Services, Inc.), a non-profit affiliate of Kutztown University.
The bookstore is entirely self-sustaining, with any surplus used to subsidize student activity fees, scholarships, campus athletics, and other items. A small portion of money was set aside during the last ten years for this remodel, so no added costs will be passed on to students.
The general contractor for the project is Spillman Farmer Architects, Inc. All sub-contractors will be contracted through Spillman Farmer, but must be approved vendors of the University.
KU Facilities will oversee the project and work closely with the architects to ensure the worked performed is as agreed upon. Fixtures will be a mixture of new and repurposed to cut down on costs.
The bookstore is scheduled to open for the fall 2014 semester, when a grand opening event will be held. In the mean-time, look for a remodeling sale to take place.
These events will be an opportunity for students to stock up on supplies, textbooks, and spirit wear, or even get a jump on their Christmas shopping list.