Colorado State Opens Renovated Bookstore in Lory Student Center; Project Represents Major Milestone Six Months After Flood

Note to Editors: Interested media may arrange interviews with bookstore manager John Parry or Martha Blood, director of Lory Student Center, about the newly renovated Colorado State bookstore and flood recovery progress by calling University Relations, (970) 491-6432.

Completing what industry experts thought was impossible, Colorado State University has opened a newly restored bookstore on campus six months after a flood hit the existing store and wiped out its contents.

Colorado State’s bookstore, which features a new look and improved layout, is situated in the same part of the lower level of Lory Student Center as it was before the July 28 flood. The store is stocked with all of the new and used textbooks students will need for spring semester classes, which begin Jan. 20. Bookstore staff expect the week-long rush of textbook purchases to start Thursday, when residence halls reopen to students.

"This is a major milestone for us," said John Parry, bookstore manager. "When the flood hit six months ago, we wondered just how quickly we could accomplish what needed to be done. I am so proud that not only is the bookstore back in a permanent space, but it’s better than ever."

Parry said the renovated bookstore, which occupies 22,000 square feet in the lower level of Lory Student Center, features several improvements that make textbook purchases, returns and buy-back periods much more efficient.

Although the same size as the previous bookstore, the space was reconfigured and new fixtures added so that shelf space devoted for textbooks has doubled. The increased shelf space allows bookstore staff to stock a much larger number of books so that students can locate what they need faster during the store’s busiest periods. Parry said the older fixtures and displays, originally installed in 1969, were designed to hold enough textbooks for only 12,000 students. The new shelves can handle the textbook needs of 25,000 students.

The new store–equipped with modern fixtures, a green and gold motif, and a brighter atmosphere–also includes a large section of popular books and a reading lounge. Other features include wheelchair access that exceeds federal standards and more cash registers to speed up purchases and general merchandise, such as paper, notebooks and pens. Previously, all general merchandise was sold on the first floor, which required students to purchase textbooks and other class materials separately.

Contractors also added a second bookstore entrance on the lower level, which will blend in with the Lory Student Center’s aggressive plans to remodel the remaining 80,000 square feet destroyed in the flood. Near the second bookstore entrance are 10 service windows designated for use during textbook buy-back programs and return periods. The addition is expected to prevent bookstore congestion and speed transactions.

"These changes will dramatically reduce the amount of time students spend waiting in line to either buy books or sell them back to the bookstore at the end of the semester," Parry said. "The way the space is designed affords a great deal of flexibility. I think our customers will be pleased with the difference."

When first asked to help oversee the project last September, Richard Kremer, a consultant who designs university bookstores nationwide, doubted a new store could be designed and rebuilt from floor to ceiling in just four months.

"I thought this project would be impossible to complete in such a short time. These kinds of projects take years to complete at other universities," Kremer said. "Colorado State should be extremely proud of its achievement because it is nothing short of amazing. This could be used as a national model for other universities undergoing similar projects."

Bookstore hours are 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday;

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. The store will be closed Jan. 19 in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, but will reopen at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 20, the first day of classes.