By Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter
The main campus bookstore is feeling the squeeze of a smaller size, and students are taking the heat — literally.
In order to reduce foot traffic inside the new smaller location in the Robert P. Matteucci building, there is a line to get into the store, and buy-backs, rental check-ins, returns and refunds are handled through an outdoor window, the line for which queues up — exposed to the elements — in the courtyard of the building, Ann Heaton, district director of the CNM bookstores, said.
Bookstore staff members have been working to fix any issues that have come up since the bookstore opened on July 29, but have not had enough time to deal with every issue, including the outdoor line, Heaton said.
“We’ve been here for a month, and so we have growing pains right now. And I just hope the students and faculty and everyone can remain patient with us, so we can work out these hiccups,” Heaton said.
Anna Hoefler, Paralegal Studies major, used the new window during the last week of the summer semester, and spent over an hour in direct sunlight waiting to sell her books back, she said.
According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature that week was more than 88 degrees with a high of 92, and Hoefler said she thinks there needs to be something built to enclose the line.
“In the winter it’s going to be too cold, and in the summer it’s too hot. I could see slip and fall hazards happening because of ice. It’s ridiculous!” Hoefler said.
Heaton said that she is aware of the problem and has spoken with CNM administration to find a solution to the buy-back window’s exposed line, and that something will be in place by the end of the fall semester.
“We’re trying to figure out what we can do and how we can make things better, and if we have to rent a tent at the beginning of each term to put out there, then that’s what we’ll do,” she said.
The reduced space of the facility provided has led to multiple issues for the staff at the bookstore, Heaton said.
The storage room provided with the new location is not large enough to hold the books that would normally be on hand, and the team has had to rent a portable storage device that was placed in the parking lot near the bookstores back entrance and monopolize most of the space in a loading dock that is shared with the culinary arts department, she said.
“We kind of joke and say that everyday my staff and I push up against the walls looking for more space,” she said.
The line to get into the store is also a symptom of the smaller size, Heaton said.
After moving to the new location, Heaton walked the bookstore floor with security officers in order to determine how long to allow the checkout line to get before limiting access, she said.
A long line to check out is typical of the beginning of a semester, and if the amount of students going into the store was not restricted, then the checkout line would interfere with students browsing textbooks and could even cause a safety hazard, she said.
“It would just become chaotic, and that’s what we’re trying to eliminate,” she said.
While Heaton thinks the new building and location is beautiful, she recognizes that space is an issue, but Follett Higher Education Services, the company that runs the CNM bookstores, was not involved in planning the new RPM building, she said.
Instead Follett was simply told by CNM administration that the bookstore would be moving to a new location, was given the dimensions of the new space and had to design a layout that worked within the space provided, Heaton said.
“CNM’s not in the business of running bookstores. That’s why we’re doing it for them, and we want to make it look pleasant and make sure that foot traffic is flowing and everything, and that’s what our team in our corporate office does,” she said.
Heaton said that she and her team are committed to trying to make sure that students receive the same service that they used to receive at the old location in the Student Services Center, and that she is working with administration to solve storage and student issues.
Solutions to these issues will probably not come until after the first few weeks of the semester are over, which is always the busiest part of the semester, she said.
“We just hope that the students will be patient with us. Again, these are all kind of growing pain issues, and we’re trying to figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and what can we do better for the spring term,” she said.