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Panda Express coming to NMSU

  • By Gabriella D. Ferrari
  • 575-646-7565
  • gferrari@nmsu.edu
  • Aug 20, 2012
NMSU sign on window
Auxiliary Services at New Mexico State University announced Monday, Aug. 20, a contract has been signed with Panda Express Inc. to open a Panda Express in the Auxiliary Services building on University Avenue.

NMSU is extremely excited to develop this partnership with Panda Express," said Tammy Anthony, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services. "Not only will they provide a new dining option for both the campus and the Las Cruces community, they also pledge to support university programs and organizations through cash and food donations that will benefit our students in a variety of ways."

Panda Express is proposed to open for the spring 2013 semester in the 2,108 square feet of retail space adjacent to the Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Like other dining facilities on campus, it will accept Aggie Cash and Aggie Dining Dollars from faculty, staff and students. Construction will begin soon after the project receives approval from the New Mexico Department of Higher Education.

The largest chain of Chinese fast food in the U.S., the new Panda Express location will serve students as well as the Las Cruces community. The company plans to have similar hours of operations as its traditional storefronts. Customers will be able to utilize the 90 existing free two-hour parking spaces in the parking lot south of the Auxiliary Services building.

As part of the eight-year contract, Panda Express Inc. also will donate $25,000 to the NMSU general fund to benefit students and the campus. It also plans annual donations in the form of food to support student organizations, clubs and campus events.

"We give our time and resources to support not only our people, but our communities. Panda Express understands the importance of giving and feels that we are here not only to deliver an exceptional Asian dining experience, but to support the students and their university communities," said Scott Weingarten, of Panda Express Inc., in the proposal.

Construction was approved by the NMSU Board of Regents during a regular meeting Aug. 20. Funding for the project will be provided by Panda Restaurant Group, who will then work with NMSU architects and open the bidding to interested architects and construction companies.

Bidding for the retail space was open for about four weeks this spring during which time NMSU accepted proposals for either one or two retail spaces before entering negotiations with Panda Express.