The off-the-beaten-path Rec Room offers fun and friends
Jay Benedict | reporter
Venture into the basement of the Overman Student Center, past Jazzman’s, and beyond the Mini-Theater, and you’ll find the place where everybody knows your name.
The Overman Recreation Room is a bit off the beaten path, but there is a dedicated group of regulars who are always ready for a game of ping pong or pool.
“I come here at least three or four times a week, maybe five. So pretty much every day,” said Josh Velazquez, freshman in computer information. “I just like to shoot pool. Normally, I’m by myself but if somebody here wants to play, I’ll play with them.”
The room holds three pool tables, a ping pong table, shuffleboard table, foosball table and a row of booths on the south side. Equipment, like pool cues, ping pong paddles and balls for both games can be checked out at a desk monitored by a student employee.
Bryce Reynolds, freshman in chemistry, and Stephen Phillips say they are there almost every day. They say they stop by during their free time.
“We just started playing pool and try to get as many games in as we can,” said Phillips, freshman in economics. “It’s a great way to kill time between classes or if we’re bored.”
James Keegan, junior in construction management, and Bobby Brown, freshman in music, play ping pong in the rec room every day. They say it’s an overlooked feature of Overman.
“There’s a main group of people that are always down here,” said Keegan, sophomore in biology. “Sometimes all the booths are full and there are two or three people on each pool table and a pong game going.”
Between 50 and 100 people use the room each day.
Though the room’s hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the middle of the day brings the room’s peak traffic.
The popularity of the room doesn’t come without consequences.
“One of the biggest issues is chewing tobacco,” said one of the room’s student employees. “People were leaving bottles with spit in it behind and those bottles spill sometimes.”
She says that when it’s really busy, it can get too loud. The most frequent problem is equipment breaking.
“There are issues with stuff being broken, and it seems like it happens quite a bit anymore. The pool cues break the most.”
To check out equipment, the student must leave their student ID at the desk. This helps to know who has equipment, but isn’t foolproof.
“One time someone was in a hurry, grabbed the ID and ran off with it. Fortunately, they still had a friend here and they called the person with the wrong ID and had them come back,” the student employee said.
Despite the upcoming $16 million Overman expansion and renovation, that will break ground in March 2014, the rec room looks to remain untouched according to the drawings of the project. However, all of the regulars had suggestions for improvements.
Brown, suggested doing away with the foosball and shuffleboard tables.
“They’re kind of in the way and nobody plays with them. That would make space for more pool or ping pong tables, or a TV,” Bobby said. “We need a TV, maybe some couches too.”
Reynolds agreed and added that he believes WiFi reception there is terrible. He says it’s almost impossible to connect.
“If you try to come down here to get stuff done, it’s almost impossible without any reception, for cell phones or Internet,” Reynolds said.
Keegan added that there is no clock and they all agreed that the booths are out of date and falling apart. One student was even able to lift the entire seat off the teal, vinyl booth.
“They’re kind of falling apart and look outdated,” Keegan said. “We need newer ones, maybe in school colors, (that) would be cool.”