Posted: Jan 29, 2011 2:24 PM
Source: Associated Press
BATON ROUGE- Louisiana State University is switching from the U.S. Postal Service to a private vendor for on-campus mail services in a move that could increase student costs, university officials say.
The plan also will shut down the school's copy and mail center.
LSU opened the two bids late Thursday from The UPS Store and Ricoh USA to privatize postage and copying services on campus. A final selection likely will take another week, said Jason Tolliver, LSU director of auxiliary services.
Tolliver told The Advocate that the switch is necessary because LSU is on the planned list of postal closures nationally amid federal budget problems.
"We believe, at the end of the day, we'll be able to provide a better service to the entire LSU community," he said.
The Postal Service currently charges a minimum of $44 per year for a campus box, Tolliver said. Students who live on campus are required to pay for a mailbox.
The bid request for a minimum 10-year contract requires that the private vendor not charge more than $70 for a box for the first year of the agreement, which would begin this fall, Tolliver said. But the costs could increase afterward.
The vendor also can sell postal services above U.S. Postal Service rates as long as LSU agrees the charges are reasonable. The switch also will eliminate the delivery and pickup of mail to individual academic departments, Tolliver said.
Currently, the Postal Service is operating out of trailers behind the LSU Faculty Club and adjacent to the LSU Law Center because of construction at the LSU Student Union. This summer, the new privatized mail service with an added copy center will move back to the bottom floor of the Union, which will be remodeled by the vendor, Tolliver said.
Closing the current copy and mail center, which has six employees, should save LSU about $400,000 a year, Tolliver said.
Student Government President J. Hudson said he is disappointed the Postal Service is leaving and worried about the potential for increased costs.
"The post office has always been a great service for students," Hudson said. "I use it all the time."