Preparing for Monday

University of Wyoming Store cashier Kimberly Countryman helps out in the lower level by fulfilling online book orders so they will be ready for students to pick up. JEREMY MARTIN/Boomerang photographer

Thousands of University of Wyoming students are already settling in for the Fall 2015 semester, most of whom need books and a place to study. After a relatively calm summer, UW facilities are now preparing for a flurry of activity.

The University Store will be busier in the next few weeks than any other time of the year, said AJ Hofmann, who is in charge of purchasing the thousands of textbook filling the shelves.

“It’s a little insane right now,” he said.

“The biggest thing we’re doing right now is getting the reservations ready. We got 400 (orders) last weekend and are getting 100 a day since.”

Students can place reservations online — bookstore employees gather texts together to allow for an easy pick-up.

This is Kimberly Countryman’s third year working at the bookstore during “Rush Week,” or the first week of classes. She said the most difficult part of the day isn’t restocking or gathering textbooks for reservations.

“Normally, it’s not the students, it’s the parents,” she said. “Normally, they’re panicking about their kids leaving home for the first time and can get frustrated.”

Hofmann said he hired four extra students to keep up with orders. After two weeks, when the workload drops, the extra help is let go.

Kharesse Orr worked next to Countryman, preparing texts to place throughout the bookstore.

“Beside putting together reservations, we’re stocking the shelves and making sure everything is ready for the rush,” she said.

After working eight-hour days filling reservations, Orr said she is ready for next week.

“I’m actually looking forward to it,” she said. “Classes will start and I can take breaks from working with books all day.”

With hundreds of freshmen moving in and picking up their books, they sometimes get lost in the University of Wyoming Union, which can be a daunting facility to navigate for new students and parents. Luckily, the workers at the information and ticket center help point the lost in the right direction.

“Most questions are about where the bathroom is or where the bookstore is,” said Ricardo Lind-Gonzalez, who helps run the center.

The center stays busy throughout the year, Lind-Gonzalez said, so he and the other staffers are prepared for the onslaught. It can get hectic with parents and students purchasing football tickets, however.

Other university facilities that are not as open to the public are also preparing for the next nine months.

“The steam plant was shut down from July 17-Aug. 17,” said Larry Blake, UW facilities manager. “It gives them the opportunity to take the machines down and perform regular and preventative maintenance.”

Several classrooms across the university have also been renovated, and more are set for future upgrades, with most renovations focus on adding newer technology to better support digital learning.

While several classrooms have already been redone, including most of the Classroom Building, the university will continue to identify and renovate rooms throughout the year.

Students needing a place to study normally head to Coe Library, said Cass Kvenild, interim associate dean of libraries. Like the bookstore, the library increases its staff during the school year, going from 35-40 students in the summer to about 75 during the school year.

“We’ve been hiring like crazy,” she said.

The library is open year-round, so there are no significant changes to the building or overall operations, Kvenild said, but training staff is a time-consuming process that begins as early as June.

“We just get really busy,” she said. “It’s a great place to study and we need to accommodate all of (the students).”

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