Barnes&Noble will continue to manage West Virginia University Bookstores, including new locations at WVU Institute of Technology, WVU Jacksons Mill and the WVU Foundation building on Morgantowns waterfront.

WVU and the nations largest bookseller have entered into a third straight five-year contract that enhances existing services and includes protections for students and employees, said Terry Ondreyka, associate vice president of finance.

“Barnes and Noble submitted the best proposal in terms of both financial incentives and services,”Ondreyka said, adding that the agreement is pending approval by the state attorney general.

Bookseller Follett also submitted a proposal.

Under the new agreement, Barnes&Noble will pay WVU $1.625 million a year, including $25,000 earmarked for scholarships, Ondrekya said. This amounts to a $625,000 annual increase over the present contract.

Barnes and Noble will assume operations of bookstores at WVU Tech and Jacksons Mill starting May 1 and also make improvements to bookstores on the Universitys main and regional campuses, he added. The company plans to open a gift shop in the new WVUVisitorsResourceCenter at One Waterfront Place, the Foundation building under construction on Don Knotts Boulevard.

Student benefits include acceptance of Mountaineer Cards for bookstore purchases, an option to designate a portion of financial aid for purchases, and textbook prices and buy-back provisions at current acceptable levels, Ondreyka said.

The contract also provides for continued protection of WVU employee wages and benefits, he said.

The agreement takes effect May 1, and both parties can renegotiate another five-year pact when it expires in May 2006.