West Virginia University students can now get a latte to go with their English lit at the newly renovated WVU Bookstore.

Thats exactly how we want our customersthe students, faculty and staff of this universityto feel,said Chris Peterson, a regional director of stores for the Barnes&Noble chain.We want them to know that their bookstore can be a nice place to hang out in between classes, where they can enjoy some great coffee and a great read.

Peterson has been overseeing a major renovation of the Downtown Campus bookstore that includes a Barnes&Noble café serving up Starbucks for students.

WVU has partnered with Barnes&Noble since 1991.

Done at Barnes&Nobles expense, the project was completed in two phases. The bottom floor, which houses textbooks and school supplies, was finished in July.

The top floor, home to everything from paperbacks to backpacks, was done last week, with last-minute touches being added for the start of spring semester.

Peterson said the objective was to make the bookstore as inviting as possible.

Returning students will find a bookstore updated with a contemporary feel that blends Mountaineer tradition with the signature look carried by the bookseller nationwide.

In the back, where the fiction shelf used to be, is the café, which includes seating for 25 and a full menu of all the mochas and lattes imaginable.

The Barnes&Noble construction team couldnt have been better to work with,said David Lang, WVU s bookstore manager.Weve basically gotten a whole new bookstore. We love the look of the place.

Lang said the bookstore, complete with WVU graphics and photos, celebrates the rich academic, cultural and athletic legacies of the University throughout its 17,000-square-foot space.

When we begin building or redesigning a college bookstore, we start with a blank slate,Peterson said.Each storelike each campusis unique, so our goal is to create a store that fits right into the universitys culture.

Were thrilled to be able to provide future generations of students and faculty members with a world-class bookstore while giving the broader community an inviting place to meet,said Paul Maloney, a Barnes&Noble vice president.We see it as an academic village green.

In consideration for the space it occupies on WVU campuses, Barnes&Nobles current contract pays WVU $1.6 million a year, all of which goes to the support of academic scholarships. The company also contributes to the Mountaineer Parents Club, which distributes scholarships and gift cards for textbooks.

Along with the Downtown Campus bookstore, the company manages Barnes&Noble locations at Brooke Tower on the Evansdale Campus, the College of Law and Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

Barnes&Noble also has stores at WVU at Parkersburg, the WVU Institute of Technology and Potomac State College of WVU .

Based out of Basking Ridge, N.J., Barnes&Noble College Booksellers is a privately held sister company to Barnes&Noble Inc., the nations largest bookseller. The company oversees 650 college bookstores across the U.S., including its operations at WVU .