Holmes Student Center construction is an inconvenience to students

By Chris Grask

The Holmes Student Center renovations are underway, and the construction could not have happened at a worse time. NIU is moving the bookstore experience into more of an online pickup experience, and it’s a nightmare.

Due to construction in HSC, students are encouraged to order books online. This will allow cashiers to streamline service.

“Originally, the bookstore was suppose to be online only,” Huskie Books and Gear manager Nate Wunsh said. “The student population hasn’t agreed to the idea of online pickup for books. You’d think with how everything is online now they would do more online pickup.” 

NIU has continued to show they are inefficient at planning, and the supposed plan of shifting the bookstore into a more online-friendly store has been riddled with issues. Students are lining up in long lines to check out books instead of ordering online.

“It has been pure chaos since they started the reconstruction,” Wunsh said. “With the new layout, it is half the space and not safe enough for students to walk around due to work hazards.”

In addition to long lines, Wunsh said UPS has been unable to deliver some textbooks. The culprit of issues is the tight space in the HSC bus drop off, and the hectic traffic around the MLK Commons.

These abrupt changes to the bookstore experience are riddled with issues and have some students on edge.

“I went down to the bookstore, and the line was real long, and they only had one cashier,” senior English major Tim Truman said. “I didn’t think to even order online because I was in a hurry.”

Previously, students would be able to go to the bookstore, select their books themselves and check. The new format has stations for students to walk up and have the bookstore clerk gather the books for each students.

“If I were to order online, I would’ve just ordered off Amazon or something,” Truman said. “Normally I shop at the VCB, but they were out of the book I needed, so I stopped at the bookstore, which I didn’t know that we had one in the first place.”

The issue with this layout is the line flow; it is simply not moving at a high enough speed. The temporary layout is an odd format with clerks wandering around to find textbooks, and the speed of the line moves at the pace of a Walmart line.

Expanding the Huskie Den, dining menu options and an expanded lounge area are part of the renovation project, according to the NIU Holmes Student Center webpage. The expected renovations are to be of no extra cost to the student, and they are expected to be done by fall of 2019, according to an April 23 Northern Star article. However, that expected completion date might be a little longer.

“As of right now the bookstore renovations groundbreaking won’t start until October,” Wunsh said.

With the extended rebuild of Stevens Hall, which took five years to build, it’s unfair to assume renovation may take longer than expected. NIU has shown in the past they operate at the speed of Illinois tollway construction. The makeshift clerk service at the bookstore may be a temporary setup, but all students can hope for is for the renovations to completed on time. Everyone should keep calm and order books online.