Rec center revival: New bowling lanes on the way
Students who have visited the Student Center Recreation Center recently may have noticed some changes in addition to the new Dance Dance Revolution video game popular among many students. In fact, late last month the center began renovations that Student Center officials hope will attract more students and guests to the area.
According to Mary-Julia Stephens, the first step in renovations was to replace the bowling lanes with a new, more efficient surface.
"We have already resurfaced all of the lanes and added a synthetic material to the floor," said Stephens. "The lanes were originally wood which need to be resurfaced every two years. Since the lanes hadn't been resurfaced since 1996, they were in really bad shape."
"The new synthetic lanes should last more than 10 years, which is a much more cost effective option for us."
The next step in the renovation process will be the refurbishing of all of the gutters and approaches to the lanes. Stephens said that the process should be complete within the next few weeks and hopes to reopen the bowling lanes by next Wednesday or Thursday.
However, the bowling lanes will not be the only part of the area affected by the renovations. "The final step will be to cover four of the bowling lanes in order to make room for five more billiards tables," said Stephens. "Billiards is very popular on our campus at this point. We almost always have a waiting list for students wanting to play pool."
Stephens also pointed out that the new tables will be of higher quality than the ones currently in use in the area. "We want students to be able to play on premiere level tables," said Stephens.
The plan for the renovations is not a new idea. In fact, Stephens has been pushing for the changes since she arrived at Tech over three years ago. "The lanes have been in terrible condition for awhile," said Stephens. "It had gotten to the point where the bowling team wasn't practicing on the lanes because it was damaging their balls."
Although Stephens has been pushing for the changes, the future of the recreation center did not always look bright. In fact, last summer Auxiliary Services announced that they were looking at making some major changes in the area that at the time included the possible removal of the bowling lanes.
However, a student survey was conducted by Auxiliary Services and the results showed the students liked the area but wanted something more dependable and well maintained. In addition, according to Stephens Vice-President of Auxiliary Services Rosalind Meyers also listened to the ideas and thoughts of the students when making the decisions.
Although the decision was made to keep the bowling lanes in the Recreation Center due to student input, Auxiliary Services knew something had to be done. "Money was a major issue in the changes," said Stephens. "We were losing revenue because the lanes were in such bad condition. We lost a number of leagues and even our own bowling team."
"The student survey also showed us how popular billiards had become, so we wanted to make changes to benefit those students as well. We had the money in capital funds and decided this was the right time to makes these changes."
Stephens hopes that the new changes, which should all be complete by the first of April, will attract more serious bowlers as well as recreational bowlers back to the lanes.
"With these changes, we will be ready if bowling really takes off again," said Stephens. "We are all really excited about the possibilities for the future."