Louisiana State University is now just months away from the opening of a new Barnes & Noble College campus superstore. As part of the university’s new Union Square development, the store will be a focal point of LSU’s dining, entertainment and shopping center.
“We began talking about a replacement for the existing Barnes & Noble store some years ago,” explains Paul Stevenson, general manager of the LSU bookstore, “and the new location will provide the opportunity for nearly twice the square footage of our existing site — with plenty of space to offer more LSU purple and gold gifts and apparel,” he adds.
The spacious new design will feature indoor and outdoor plaza seating, a cafe serving Starbucks, and a second floor which will house a computer and technology center. Much of the thinking around the new store has involved creating a space with the widest possible use for university life. “Included in the floor plan are dedicated areas to accommodate a lot more special events,” Stevenson explains. “In addition to book signings and in-store activities, we want to extend the use of these spaces for college use, and we’ve already had discussions about using the store to host events such as student orientations,” he adds.
With a Barnes & Noble presence on campus for many years, the new store’s design will incorporate many features reflecting and respecting the culture of Louisiana State University, and some of those plans are spectacular: Acknowledging LSU’s proud “Ole War Skule” military tradition, there are plans to suspend a Curtis P40 Flying Tiger aircraft above the atrium, and the exterior architecture will incorporate the campus’ iconic great oak trees as part of the store frontage.
Much more than just a campus bookstore, Paul Stevenson and the LSU team hope to create a full retail experience at the new Barnes & Noble site, with additional product offerings such as a Clinique cosmetics counter. The development will also provide for an additional 700 parking spaces allowing more people to visit the campus. “We hope that people from the neighboring community will come to us, rather than visit malls farther way,” Stevenson says, pointing out that the store will also maintain a strong focus on families with dedicated areas and events for children.
After breaking ground in February, progress on the new development is well underway and Stevenson hopes for a debut to coincide with the LSU Tigers versus Alabama National Championship rematch. “The university anticipates well over 150,000 people will be on campus for the game on that day and it would be a great showcase for the opening,” he says.
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