Bookstore tops SGA talks

By Kaiti Deerberg

Columbia students could be expecting a new, more expansive bookstore full of extra perks in the future.

The Student Government Association met Nov. 11 to discuss the initial planning of a new and improved bookstore on campus.

Jessica Valerio, president of SGA, opened the meeting with an update on SGA’s movement toward a new bookstore. The Bookstore Advisory Committee met earlier in the week with administration and representatives from Gensler Architects. Columbia has previously worked with Gensler and is currently working with the company on developing concepts for the new, proposed bookstore. Gensler and Columbia have yet to sign a deal for the actual construction of the site.

“Our bookstore is tiny, especially for the size of our school and student body,” said Alicia Berg, vice president of Campus Environment.

Faculty and students both seem to agree that a new bookstore would be a huge benefit to students.

“I think SGA and the administration are on the same page, which is really great because both sides are working cohesively towards a common goal.” Valerio said.

The new bookstore is slated to move from its current 6,000 sq ft. location in the South Campus Building, 624 S. Michigan Ave. to the 33 E. Congress Parkway building, and will double in size.

“I am by no means saying Columbia’s current bookstore is terrible,” Valerio said. “But there are a lot of space issues. I think once we have the space, the bookstore will be a great place for students.”

Valerio presented topics that had been discussed at the Bookstore Advisory Committee meeting, including adding a café to the new bookstore. The café would also provide a seating area in the bookstore.

Valerio also said there has been a lot of talk about making the new bookstore a multifunctional space that could possibly host weekly DJs and events like Silver Tongue, a monthly poetry reading series.

Timothy Bauhs, vice president of Business Affairs, is also involved with the bookstore project and the effort to cut textbook costs for students.

Bauhs said the new bookstore will bring together the college’s community and expand Columbia’s identity to a new level in the South Loop. He said the proposal of making the space multifunctional would be great for hosting student art and performance.

“The new bookstore project is still very much in the initial planning stage, and the college is greatly curtailing construction projects due to the current economic environment, ” Bauhs said. “After all the planning phases are complete and the economic picture becomes clearer, we will know more about when construction could begin.”