Campus: CSU, Chico -- February 11, 2000

New Associated Students Bookstore Opens Monday

The first phase of the $26.5 million Student Union construction project ends with the opening Monday, Feb. 14, of the first new bookstore the Associated Students at California State University, Chico has had in more than 30 years.

More than 100 student and career employees are helping to move retail and office operations into the new 52,000-square-foot three-story building, which will encompass a full city block. More than 100,000 retail items from the existing 10,000-square-foot bookstore in the Bell Memorial Union will be moved into the new 40,000-square-foot bookstore.

In addition to moving the merchandise on hand, the employees will be setting up Union Express, the new convenience store, housed in a 2,000-square-foot space in the front of the bookstore. This store will mitigate the effects of the Garden Cafe's temporary closure. Galleria books, the general books section, and Union Express will stay open later than the main bookstore to serve students who live in the dorms or have evening classes.

The completion of the new building is being called Phase One of the entire $26.5-million Student Union project. Phase Two is scheduled for completion in fall 2000.

The Associated Students BMU and Bookstore Expansion Project is the culmination of years of effort on the part of student leaders, AS. staff and university administrators and was prompted by a student-approved Student Union Fee increase over four semesters.

Ron Johnson, auxiliary businesses director, said that although most people think that the bookstore portion is state funded or is being paid for with student fees, in fact, bookstore sales will pay for the entire expansion of the new bookstore. Since 1929, the bookstore has been owned and operated by the students of Chico State. This means that the surplus revenue, money that is not spent on daily operations, helps support student services, facilities and programming. The new store is still owned by the students and by increasing sales through the expansion of floor space and merchandise in the new store, the bookstore will pay for itself.

The project was originally proposed as a much-needed renovation of the existing BMU and called for the addition of a 15,000-square-foot multi-use room to seat 1,000 people for concerts and events. The project was expanded to include the new connecting three-story building housing the bookstore and the Associated Students government and administrative offices. The combination of the two projects saved approximately $636,250.

The next phase of the project is the major renovation of the BMU including the expansion of the Garden Cafe and the addition of an outside dining area overlooking the Free Speech Area. The basement level will also undergo remodeling to include an expanded lounge and TV area, e-mail stations, and a game room with pool tables and arcade games. Additional meeting rooms will be created along with space to house certain Associated Students offices including Community Action Volunteer in Education (CAVE), AS. Recycling and Adventure Outings.

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