Hippodrome bowling gets high-tech

With the loud crack of a bowling ball hitting pins, a GW student lets out a shout of delight or dismay – depending on the outcome – in the Hippodrome bowling alley. Usually, the player looks down the alley to count the number of pins remaining and calculates the total on a scoring sheet. But now a new automated scoring system takes care of such inconveniences.

The computerized system, which was ready for student use when they returned from winter break, has been “glitch-free for students,” Hippodrome Director Oscar Jones said.

“At a cost of $90,000, the new automated scoring system has made life easier for students wishing to bowl but who may not be too adept at keeping score themselves,” Jones aid.

Students said the new technology makes bowling more fun. But some students said they have found their scores dropping.

“I don’t even know what you’re supposed to write in the boxes,” sophomore Toby Pearce said, referring to the scoring sheets formerly used at the Hippodrome. “But now I can’t lie about my score.”

“I used to play before they had the computerized system, but it’s definitely easier now because you don’t have to worry about writing anything down,” sophomore Stephen Knable said.

GW’s system works like computer scoring at other bowling alleys. Students punch in their names and begin bowling. Lazy students can even ask staff members to punch their names in for them, Jones said.

Jones said the Hippodrome has been busy since the beginning of the new semester.

“The bowling lanes aren’t packed, but there are plenty of students enjoying a game and exploring the new electronic scoring system installed just last week,” Jones said.

Although the University paid a lot of money for the computer system, no additional costs have been passed on to students, Jones said. He said prices at the Hippodrome, including bowling, are the same.

Jones said he intends to eventually cover the cost of the system by using its graphic capabilities for advertising. Student organizations can register at the Hippodrome to run advertisements on screens between frames. Jones said he also hopes businesses will buy advertisements on the screens.

Winter Welcome Week drew large crowds to the Hippodrome last week, and student organizations have booked all available spots for January and about 80 percent of February, Jones said.

Evening bowling is free to all students with a GWorld until the end of January, and bowling will be free every Tuesday night in February for all students with a GWorld card.

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