Design Approved for Bookstore, Visitors Center

The UT System Board of Regents has approved plans for a new University Bookstore and Visitors Center. The project has a budget of $9.5 million and a projected completion date of November 2011.

At 33,000 square feet, the building’s footprint will stretch south from the side of the Activity Center, which it will adjoin, to west of the newly completed roundabout. Its design features a glass-curtain wall assembly, cement and limestone composite panel walls, and anchors to a pier-and-beam foundation.

“This will be a gateway facility for our campus,” said Dr. Calvin D. Jamison, the University’s vice president for Business Affairs. “It will be a positive initial point of contact for visitors to our campus establishing how people perceive UT Dallas, providing environmentally friendly elements sought by students and the fiscal performance the University requires.”

Amenities packaged with the bookstore and visitors center include a coffee shop, a Comet merchandise retail center, the Technology Store and the Copy Center.

“From the beginning, it was designed to be abuzz with activity. It’s strategically located on a major circulation path between the Activity Center, Parking Lot J and the School of Management building so students, faculty and staff have convenient access to the retail shops and campus information,” said Tom Lund, senior project manager in the University’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction. “It serves as the front door to campus and affords easy access for prospective students and their families and for the community to find the bookstore,” he said.

“Our administration has expressed a desire to have a place where, after events such as graduation, people can gather to continue celebrating and socializing,” Lund said. “This facility provides that space and spills out into the mall for easy access to a relaxing outdoor setting.”

Its proximity to the sports fields is no coincidence either.

“It’s situated so that fans and spectators can run in and purchase Comet gear, snacks and drinks before or after watching our teams compete,” Lund added.  

UT Dallas’ current bookstore was built in 1972 as the Physical Instruction Building, a gymnasium of sorts. The 38-year-old building was re-purposed in 1998 to be the bookstore, which has been in operation for the last 12 years.

The bookstore and visitors center are part of the next phase of campus construction, which will include a new Arts and Technology Center and a second residence hall.

Follett Higher Education Group, which won the contract to operate the bookstore through 2019, will be the first vendor to occupy the space.

An architect’s rendering shows the newly approved Bookstore and Visitors’ Center from the perspective of University Parkway. The off-white and beige building to the right is the Activity Center.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].