Construction to renovate the University of Connecticut bookstore to make it a more inviting space for students will begin on Monday.
The renovations will include putting in a full-service Starbucks, an Apple store and additional seating for students.
“We’ve been working on the process and the plan for a year and we’re ready to start in the summer so we’re ready to open in the fall with a much more exciting and engaging bookstore,” manager of the Bookstore, Leonard Oser said.
When Barnes & Noble took over from the UConn Co-op, the university told them they wanted a different environment for the new bookstore.
“When Barnes & Noble came to campus last summer, the agreement with the university was to provide a more exciting and more engaging bookstore for their students,” Oser said.
Co-op offices are being converted into public spaces with seating, tables, wi-fi and outlets to charge phones and other devices.
“There’ll be some great spaces (for students to) come upstairs and study and hang out,” Oser said, “They’ll be able to plug in their device and hang out for the day if that’s something students want.”
The café downstairs will be converted into a full-service Starbucks with three times more seating.
“We’ll have a fully-licensed Starbucks, which is different from what we have now; we’re a Barnes and Noble that proudly serves Starbucks,” Oser said.
Barnes & Noble and Starbucks have an established contract that is enabling the UConn bookstore to open the café.
“This is an initiative between Barnes and Noble and Starbucks,” Oser said, “Starbucks sees the opportunity of opening at these locations and has been very aggressive in partnering with us to get them done.”
The renovations that will be done this summer are something that Barnes and Noble always knew it wanted to do but did not have time to do until now.
“What we have now is not what we want to represent,” Oser said, “We put a Band-Aid on it, we cleaned it up and have been running the café since we took it over, and now it’s going to be a really well-done fully licensed Starbucks store.”
Barnes and Noble has provided the funding for the renovations but the university will oversee how it is spent.
“The university has oversight on how we spend that money per our contract,” Oser said.
Barnes & Noble is also opening Starbucks at their locations in Storrs Center and the UConn Hartford bookstore.
Oser said he is excited for students to come back to the renovated bookstore.
“We’re excited to get it going and get it completed for students to see when they come back in the fall, it’s going to be really cool,” Oser said.