WKU Store to open new location in spring

Nick Bratcher

The plans are out. The dates are set. Even the name has been voted on.

But still not everything about renovations to Downing University Center are known yet.

Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design and Construction, said the location of campus dining, offices and the WKU Store during construction has yet to be decided.

“We don’t know a whole lot yet,” he said. “There are a lot of things here that we’re still kicking around.”

However, the WKU Store is taking advantage of the haze surrounding the renovation to branch out into the community by opening a new store on Nashville Road near South Campus this spring.

Construction on DUC won’t begin until the end of May, so there’s plenty of time to develop the rest of the details, Russell said.

“It’s very tentative, and we’ve been doing this for a while — trying to figure out where everything is going,” he said. “We haven’t gotten permission or an agreement, so we can’t really talk about it.”

Jim Sears, assistant director of the WKU Store, said the new location will mainly cater to alumni and fans.

“We thought that there’s going to be a need for folks in the community to have a place to shop,” he said. “It’s a nice, visible location.”

The reasons for opening the new store are two-fold, Sears said.

First, the store will offer a permanent location where the WKU Store can operate during the renovation, receiving ordered items in that central location and then moving them to the other stores.

“With the tentativeness of where we’re going to be located on campus, we knew we had to have a place where we could receive,” Sears said. “We’re going to be in the business now of receiving at the Nashville Road store.

“It will be supplying everything for our Glasgow Store, our Owensboro store and our South Campus store – and our main store once we know where we’ll be located.”

Second, the WKU Store can reach out more into the Bowling Green community with an off-campus location, Sears said.

“We knew we’re going to have to have a presence in the community if we want to keep that community of shoppers,” he said. “A lot of time the community sees parking on campus as being a huge issue, and this will take care of that situation.”

The store’s opening date has not been set, but Russell said the store should be open before preliminary work starts on the ground floor in the spring.

“We’re going to put out selective bids to start some work on the ground floor area in the March or April time frame,” he said.

Shawna Cawthorn, director of the WKU Store, said when the smoke clears from the renovations, students will find a very different WKU Store in DUC. The new store will be located on the ground level and possibly equipped with an Apple Store or technology center, she said.

“It will be the first time campus will have anything new related to the WKU store since it opened in 1970,” she said. “It will have new products, new fixtures, and a new atmosphere of course, but we still want it to feel like home.”