The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Complex renovation updates the food court

In the planning for nearly a year, some big changes at the Matador Bookstore Complex are nearing completion.

Amy Berger, director of the Matador Bookstore for the past five years, is excited about the new bookstore.

She listed the changes students can expect to see come fall, one of the biggest being the design of the floor plan itself.

Quick Copies, which was located at the rear of the bookstore, will be moved to where the campus travel agency had been, making room for an area where students can pick up books that have been ordered online.

There will be an opening from the Freudian Sip directly into the remodeled bookstore and the bookstore itself will be more open, with seating areas where students can plug in their computers and read.

The cash registers will be up front and off to the side instead of the old location, which was in the middle of the store.

“It will be a much nicer place to come and be easier to move through and find what you are looking for,” Berger said, adding that the prices of the books and various products will remain unchanged.

She said there will be products added, like more clothing and gifts.

Berger expects the store to be completed on time, saying that there are anywhere from 10 to 30 workers working eight to 10-hour days six days a week to make that happen.

Daniel Alvey, 27, is the framing foreman for the job. He’s been working on the project for the last three weeks and expects to be finished with his portion of the work in a week.

“It’s a small project for us,” he said, explaining that his company usually works on jobs like high rises.

Dave Nirenberg, director of commercial services of CSUN’s University Corporation, the entity overseeing the operation of all the vendors on campus, explained the changes taking place within the Matador Complex’s food court.

While Burger King will stay, Burrito Nort?, Rice Garden and Jamba Juice will be replaced with El Pollo Loco, Panda Express and Juice It Up, respectively, he said.

Nirenberg was quick to add that the University Corporation is a non-profit organization that adheres to the rules of all other 501(3)(C)s, stating that it receives not “one penny” from student funds or state funds, adding that the University Corporation, from the money it makes from its vendors on campus, provides at year end between $600,000 and $800,000 to the president’s general fund.

“We need to self-sustain ourselves,” he said. “Any money we get comes from revenue generated through sales.”

Nirenberg said the changes at the bookstore will create a space that better reflects modern-day bookstores, adding that the ceiling will be dropped that will allow for more efficient air-conditioning and heating.

“It’s been some years since it’s been remodeled,” he said. “We’re committed to providing the highest service to students. There will be no impact on prices of books to students.”

Nirenberg said the changes at the food court were necessary because it was the most antiquated food service location on campus.

The new vendors in the food court reflect the results of the RFP (request for proposal) process presented to each vendor.

“We did a selection based on criteria both economic and financial and for the product lines we identified,” he said, and added that both Jamba Juice and Rice Garden didn’t win.

“Jamba Juice barely responded to our needs,” Nirenberg said. “They chose not to provide a reasonable return to our request,” he added, but wouldn’t say whether Juice It Up would be paying the corporation more money.

“I won’t go that far,” he said.

Nirenberg defended the choices made by the University Corporation, stating that Burger King and Subway were franchises purchased by the university, and that Jamba Juice was a company that wouldn’t provide that option.

He said the University Corporation provides students the lowest prices possible for the best product, but added that sometimes a large outside chain is able to leverage an occasional lower price than the university could.

The University Corporation only increases prices reluctantly, and only after surveying prices in the broader commercial market, he said.

“We may not always be able to provide the lowest price, but we try to,” he said. Nirenberg added that he’s very proud of the sustainability factor they’ve achieved with their food vendors, citing the recently begun practice of using all the coffee grounds generated on campus for landscaping, and all cooking oil being used in a bio-diesel conversion plant.

He said vendors used for delivery of products had been reduced from 100 to 30 to cut down on miles driven and the university’s carbon footprint.

Rick Evans, administrative service manager for the University Corporation, said the old food court was tired and dark.

He described the layout of the new food court.

Instead of the bottleneck-inducing island in the middle of the old food court that allowed for a maximum of two lines, customers will now be able to pay at each vendor, a change that should streamline the process.

He said the multi-purpose store at the complex, The Edge, will remain the same, but described a 100-seat deck to be built on the concourse next year.

Like Nirenberg, Evans was shy about using the “M” word (money).

“We chose new vendors for excitement,” he said. “Money wasn’t the primary consideration,” adding that if money were their only consideration, they would have built a big convenience store that offered prepackaged food.

“That’s not going to be good for the students,” he said.

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