Many students were perhaps surprised to find Tech Rec, on the first floor of the Student Center, mysteriously closed at the start of fall semester.
The Tech Rec facility has been undergoing extensive, and expensive, renovations since the start of the summer.
Delays in the renovation of the bowling facility also caused Tech Rec to close at the beginning of the semester.
According to Rich Steele, director of the Student Center, the construction and installation of the new bowling equipment was more drastic than expected and took a longer time to complete. “There was no way to safely open [Tech Rec] before it was finished,” Steele said.
Coupled with delays in getting the new pinsetter equipment through U.S. Customs, Tech Rec was forced to delay its grand re-opening.
“We’ve been doing a soft open for about a week now,” Steele said.
Everything is up and running, excepting the last bit of electrical work and some minor repairs that need to be done. Tech Rec reopened last Wednesday.
The major renovations for the facility had been planned since last spring, with a major portion of the construction focusing on upgrading the existing bowling equipment. Construction started at the beginning of the summer semester, during the first week of summer classes.
There were many issues that prompted the Tech Rec renovations. In particular, the bowling equipment had become very problematic with age and required a technician from bowling equipment manufacturer Brunswick to repair any problems.
The older equipment was also very dangerous for the student operators to perform simple maintenance tasks.
“[The new equipment] is very high tech,” said Michael Coleman, associate program director of Tech Rec. Coleman further described how the newer equipment is much safer and is more user-friendly.
Tech Rec has seen an ongoing decline in attendance in recent years, which is reportedly due to the aging and frequently malfunctioning bowling equipment. An overall lack of awareness of Tech Rec’s existence among the student body has also led to a drop in attendance and a consequent decline in sales.
One of the main functions of the Tech Rec renovations was to enhance the facility and make it more inviting to students. The new renovations allow students to come into a more relaxed space with more places to simply sit and take a break.
Another method intended to help increase student awareness of Tech Rec will be a new marketing campaign aimed at attracting new visitors as well as retaining current ones. One of the new marketing strategies was implemented during the current soft opening of the facility, with all games priced at $1.
Today, there will be a grand re-opening event that will unveil all of Tech Rec’s new features.
“We will have prizes and some special guests…[and] Buzz will be attending,” Coleman said. Tech Rec will also be continuing their promotional frequent player cards, as well as selling unlimited play cards.
Other promotions in the works include working with the Resident Hall Association and having speciality events, such as “All Freshman Week.” with everything priced at $1.
Despite the hefty price tag of $450,000 in renovation costs, Tech Rec will not be raising its prices. The new renovations, as well as the new marketing and awareness campaign, are expected to bring many new customers to Tech Rec.
“[We are] trying to connect to new students and others that didn’t use it before,” Coleman said.