May 11, 2009

An artist's rendering of the planned University bookstore.

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By Tom Evelyn

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell University has signed a letter of intent to partner with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to design and manage a new 29,000-square-foot University bookstore scheduled to open in summer 2010 in downtown Lewisburg. || Photos, renderings, FAQs

“Barnes & Noble is the unquestioned national leader in bookstore management, and has proven itself with highly successful university bookstores in communities of all sizes across the country,” Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell said. "We look forward to our partnership and to working closely with them and the Lewisburg community to establish a downtown university bookstore that serves Bucknell and contributes significantly to the economic and intellectual vitality of Lewisburg and the region.”

Bookstore employees were informed by University administrators last week that as part of the agreement Barnes & Noble will retain all current University bookstore staff at similar compensation levels.

Transition to downtown
Barnes & Noble will begin to manage the University’s on-campus store effective July 1, which will provide for a smooth transition when the downtown store opens. The bookstore move will free more than 12,500 square feet of space in Bucknell’s Elaine Langone Center for other University uses.

In January, the Bucknell Board of Trustees approved developing a University bookstore downtown and using as its primary funding source money provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Bucknell for economic development.

While Barnes & Noble will manage the downtown bookstore, Bucknell will retain control and ownership of the land used for the facility.

Historic bulding
The new downtown bookstore will occupy a historic building on the northwest corner of Fourth and Market streets in Lewisburg and include a large inventory of books, magazines, emblematic sportswear, a selection of CDs and DVDs as well as a café and spaces for literary and artistic performances. The bookstore will be open seven days a week and have longer hours than the current campus bookstore.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the downtown bookstore, which will cost about $9 million. Two-thirds of that cost has already been secured by the University from the state as part of the commonwealth's commitment to invest in its small towns.

The bookstore will pay municipal and county taxes and be developed in a manner that advances the campus-community connection, increases foot traffic downtown and provides a catalyst for other development.

Outside consultants
The University has discussed the idea of a downtown bookstore for more than two years and has based its decisions in part on analyses by outside consultants Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott and Brailsford & Dunlavey, two of the country’s top campus and community development firms. Its planning has also included discussions on campus and with the Borough of Lewisburg, the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership Board and the Lewisburg community.

Bucknell planners also looked at other universities where similar downtown university bookstores have been established, including Johns Hopkins, William and Mary, and Colgate, among others.

The University will provide further details on the development of the downtown bookstore as the project progresses.

About Barnes & Noble College Booksellers: Based out of Basking Ridge, N.J., Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is a privately-held sister company to Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s largest bookseller.  Currently, they operate almost 700 college bookstores across America with more than 30 in Pennsylvania including University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Franklin and Marshall, Lehigh, Wilkes University and King’s College.  

Contact: Division of Communications

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