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New Mexico State University

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NMSU to explore possibility of new bookstore building

New Mexico State University has announced the signing of a letter of intent to award a contract to Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to manage and operate NMSU's five bookstores and two convenience stores systemwide.


The letter of intent authorizes the university to consider construction of a gateway building to house a new academic store for the Las Cruces campus and to complete construction within a three year period. Through the selection of merchandise and the store design, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers plans to implement the first such store in the country with a Hispanic theme. The store will also include a café for its customers. The first site to be explored will be the Jordan Street campus entrance. This is consistent with the NMSU Master Plan which calls for University Avenue to serve as a bridge to the community.

The letter of intent is a culmination of a thoughtful, heavily vetted and rigorous process that began over a year ago and follows the recommendation of a review committee comprised of representatives from students, faculty, student services, the community colleges and auxiliary services. The committee recommended a proposal in which students will not pay more for textbooks and employees will not lose jobs.

"We are able to explore this possibility because we found the right partner who is focused on issues important to the university's diverse population and is dedicated to putting the needs of our students, faculty and staff first," said Interim President Waded Cruzado. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers serves more than four million students, 400,000 faculty members and operates more than 600 campus bookstores nationwide.

"Our top priority has been to keep people at the center of this conversation," said Cruzado. "With this opportunity, students and faculty at all NMSU campuses would enjoy a wider variety of products and services, while bookstore employees would be presented with prospects for upward mobility and economic betterment. This is a win-win situation for the campus community."

In addition to enhancing the current operations, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers would help build a stronger future by applying industry knowledge and resources to address upcoming challenges and opportunities.

From a financial perspective, the package offered by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers would be of greater benefit to NMSU. Income from the stores would remain in the local area and be used to benefit the student/campus community with expanded funding for capital improvements and enhanced operations for all campuses.

NMSU anticipates the following items will form the basis of the agreement:

?Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will offer employment to all existing regular bookstore employees. Those electing to work for Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will receive from them a comparable compensation package as well as a 5 percent raise.
?Any bookstore employees not electing to work with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will be placed within NMSU.
?Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will employ all current student bookstore employees at least for the remainder of the academic year, and will actively pursue student employees in future years. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will additionally offer a very strong management trainee program for student employees, which can lead to post-graduation employment with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers nationwide.
?Textbooks from Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will not cost more overall than they would at the NMSU bookstores. The textbook buy-back program will be stronger and the availability of used books will increase.
?Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will commit to establishing a $25,000 annual book scholarship program. NMSU will collaborate with student government on this program.
?A standing bookstore advisory committee will be established to ensure store operations are effectively meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will offer flexible and convenient services to faculty, and will showcase books published by faculty authors.
?The computer shop remains part of the store merchandise plan and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will offer collegiate educational pricing.

"We are excited about this possibility because Barnes & Noble College Booksellers can offer a more comprehensive array of services to our students, including state-of-the-art technology, that isn't available now," said Angela Throneberry, interim associate vice president for business, finance and human resource services.

To help better understand what this transition means, a Q&A sheet has been placed on the bookstore Web site at www.nmsubookstore.com/nmsu

"I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to the committee for their efforts, the bookstores' employees for their collaboration and the campus community for their support as we move forward with this process," Cruzado said.