ULS Board to discuss new bookstore, dining option

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors have one topic on their agenda to potentially excite the Northwestern State community: The university is requesting approval to lease space in the Friedman Student Union to the NSU Foundation so it can operate the official campus bookstore.

If approved, the Foundation plans to acquire two properties across from Watson Memorial Library for renovating a new Campus Marketplace, a 10,500-square-foot building offering an expanded bookstore and convenience food vendor.

Total funding for the project is $1.9 million, which includes construction, design, testing, furniture, equipment and contingency funding.

“The University will not incur any debt as a result of this project,” according to the executive summary of Item H.3 on the board’s agenda.

These facilities will be leased through the Foundation with an outside vendor and are expected to be operating by fall 2018.

Pending Friday’s decision, the new lease agreement between NSU and the NSU Foundation will take effect Dec. 1 and expire Dec. 31, 2027, with the option to renew.

NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio is not directly involved in negotiations, but he explained that the university would lease the new space from the NSU Foundation.

Though contractors have not yet been selected, students have been asking for a Chick-Fil-A since it was replaced in 2009 by the Grill.

“Nine out of 10 [students] said they wanted a Chick-Fil-A, so that’s what we’re shooting for,” Maggio laughed.

The university’s current bookstore provider is Barnes & Noble, whose contract expires in June 2018. NSU is now considering options with other contractors.

One leasing condition between NSU and the Foundation will be that the university will receive sales commissions from both the new bookstore and food vendor. It is unclear at this time what percentage of sales will go to the university.

The Board of Supervisors is holding its meeting Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. This is open to the public, and the full agenda is available on the system’s website.