Following 10 months of construction, the Barnes & Noble College West Virginia Northern Community College Bookstore opened its doors to the public with a grand opening celebration on July 15.
West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) officials, city leaders and Barnes & Noble College representatives gathered to cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the new space. For local leaders, the opening of the bookstore inside WVNCC’s new Student Center represents the promise of a retail renaissance in downtown Wheeling. The new store is part of a redevelopment plan to revitalize the downtown with a vibrant, college campus atmosphere.
“WVNCC approached us three years ago about moving off campus and we agreed that this would be a fantastic opportunity for the school and the local community,” said Lil Kabasan, regional manager for Barnes & Noble College. “We’ve enjoyed a wonderful partnership with WVNCC for 13 years, so we’re very excited about this new store and all that it will offer the College and the City of Wheeling.”
For Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie, the location was key to the city’s redevelopment. “I think the center of town is clearly 16th and Market streets,” he said, referencing the new Student Union and bookstore, as well as the college’s recent opening of its Applied Technology Center across the street and its existing main campus location inside the old B&O building.
The new campus store replaces a bookstore that had been previously located across the street in the B&O Building. Pairing an expanded Barnes & Noble bookstore with the Student Center creates a larger space for students to gather and offers WVNCC and the local community an exciting new meeting and shopping space. The store also includes a café, larger inventory of general-reading books; an expanded convenience food section; gifts for students, alumni, family and friends; WVNCC spirit wear; and unmatched textbook options in a variety of formats.
Dr. Martin Olshinsky, president of West Virginia Northern Community College, views the new space as his school’s showpiece – offering a comfortable study area for students with the student union located upstairs and cafe seating on the first floor – complete with WiFi. “The whole idea is that it creates a campus atmosphere with all of these buildings,” Olshinsky explained. “This whole section of town is a college square for us.”
As the school year draws near, the new bookstore will be a welcomed addition to the WVNCC campus. “West Virginia Northern students and staff join in the excitement surrounding the new bookstore and Student Union,” Olshinsky said. “This quickly will become a popular gathering spot, and based on the wider community’s interest, we know the public will be just as pleased as we are with the expanded and new bookstore.”