New Bookstore, Visitor Center to Arrive Ahead of Schedule
Building to Welcome Guests Entering Campus from Campbell via University Parkway

UT Dallas Visitor's Center and Bookstore

A groundbreaking celebration for the new Visitor Center and Bookstore is set for 2 p.m. Thursday,  Jan. 20. The building will occupy a space south of the Activity Center just west of the traffic circle.

UT Dallas will “fast-track” construction of its upcoming Visitor Center and University Bookstore, giving students, faculty and staff use of the facility four months before its originally scheduled occupancy date.

A groundbreaking celebration at 2 p.m. Thursday,  Jan. 20, officially kicks off the project, which is now slated for completion in July. Earlier plans called for the facility to be finished in November 2011.

The 33,000-square-foot building will stretch south from the back of the Activity Center, which it will adjoin, and east toward the newly completed roundabout. Fencing now surrounds the site, ending access to the south entrance of the Activity Center and rerouting vehicular traffic further west through parking Lot J.

The facility will feature a glass-curtain wall assembly, composite panels and limestone on exterior walls, with the steel structure anchored to a pier-and-beam foundation.

map of campus

The 33,000-square-foot building will stretch south from the back of the Activity Center and east toward the newly completed roundabout.

“This will be the gateway facility for our campus,” said Dr. Calvin D. Jamison, the University’s senior vice president for Business Affairs. “It will be a positive initial point of contact for visitors to our campus with a first-class bookstore providing ‘all things UT Dallas.’ ”

Amenities include a bookstore with a coffee shop, a Comet merchandise retail center, a visitors’ center run by Enrollment Management, the Technology Store operated by Hi-Ed, the Copy Center and a multipurpose room operated by Recreational Sports.

“It was designed to be abuzz with activity. It’s strategically located on a major circulation path between the Activity Center, Lot J and the School of Management building so students, faculty and staff as well as visitors have convenient access to the retail shops and campus information,” said Tom Lund, senior project manager in UT System’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC).

Fast-tracking the project puts a premium on getting it delivered early and requires “a coordinated effort on behalf of the owner, OFPC, the general contractor and the architect to resolve issues in a rapid manner,” said Rick Dempsey, associate vice president for Facilities Management.

The Visitors Center will add two aspects of functionality from an enrollment management perspective, said Curt Eley, vice provost for Enrollment Management.

“First, we’ve given outdoor walking tours and provided information on the go, never having had the space needed to provide daily information sessions for prospective students and their families. Now we will.

“Second, by starting and finishing all tours in that building, visitors will have great access to the bookstore and all the Comet merchandise. So everyone’s excited,” Eley said.

Follett Higher Education Group, which won the contract to operate the bookstore through 2019 and currently runs more than 800 college bookstores around the U.S. and Canada, will be the first vendor to occupy the space.

“I’ve been through a few remodels and this is an exciting time,” said store manager Brian Weiskopf.  “The addition of Jittery Joe’s hopefully will give us an added dimension that will make our store a popular campus destination for students and visitors to gather.”

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

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