Marketplace for books, meeting place for ideas
ON THE GREEN | Since August, University students have been enjoying all the benefits of a brand-new, comprehensive bookstore—offering everything from computers to cappuccino—and so has the community.
The UD Bookstore on East Main Street stocks not only textbooks and school supplies but also the popular books and general merchandise of other Barnes & Noble stores. Other features are an Apple Authorized Campus Store, UD Apparel shop with DelaWear items and the Blue Hen Café, which offers Starbucks food and beverages and UDairy Creamery ice cream.
At the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in September, University President Patrick Harker said the value of the bookstore goes far beyond its attractive new building. By housing popular brands in a Main Street location, the store has the opportunity to become a spot for “engaging the entire community in the sort of scholarship that gets people talking with one another,” Harker said, adding that he envisions it as a marketplace for ideas and opinions.
Officials at the grand opening noted that construction of the building was completed in 335 days, well ahead of schedule. “It’s gone up so fast that, on some days, construction looked like time-lapse photography,” Harker said.
He attributed the impressive progress to the joint efforts of the Buccini/Pollin Group, DIGSAU Architecture and the University’s own Facilities staff, in addition to support from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Newark Mayor Vance Funk, Barnes & Noble President Max Roberts and the store’s general manager, Jennifer Galt.
As the ribbon was cut, the crowd cheered, students were checking out the latest Apple products upstairs, and a buzz of conversation filled the Blue Hen Café.
Bookstore manager Jennifer Galt invited the community to visit. “We have a great selection here, and there are plenty of spaces to relax and enjoy that book you just purchased,” she said.
Learn more about the store
Here are some facts about the building and its design:
The 38,000-square-foot store more than doubles the size of its former location in the Perkins Student Center.
The location was chosen as a way to strengthen the “town-gown” connection between UD and the larger community by placing a welcoming store at a prominent gateway on the edge of campus.
A significant plaza area connects East Main and Academy streets, creating a public space that promotes activities to attract people for both social interaction and retail activity. The tower was designed to serve as a point of orientation connecting the two streets, while the ground floor circulation through the bookstore is parallel to the circulation through the courtyard.
The design incorporates the old Christina School District building on Main Street and has restored its historical exterior. The new one-story link between it and the three-story building provides a connection without crowding the old school district building.
The construction of the UD Bookstore, which also houses the University Office of Development and Alumni Relations, was planned to be a backdrop that showcases rather than mimics the character of the historic structures around it.
The colors were selected to highlight the adjacent historic red brick and slate structures by creating a neutral backdrop with a cooler tone.
Article by Ryan Maguire, AS07, and Jerry Rhodes, AS04