University to eliminate Hippodrome arcade

To accommodate more seating for the WOW Caf? and Wingery set to be in the Hippodrome, the University is eliminating the video games and ping-pong tables in the arcade area.

The Southwest-style wing restaurant was originally slated to open by Sept. 5 with the rest of the new Marvin Center dining venues. It is delayed again past the mid-October goal the University established after it was clear it would not open on time. Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services, said she does not know when the restaurant will open, but said it should be operating before the end of the calendar year.

The construction, set to begin Monday, will include moving the pool tables into the arcade, while removing all the equipment currently in that room, officials said Wednesday.

Michael Peller, managing director of the Marvin Center, said many of the pool tables will be relocated to the arcade, but not all of them may fit. He also said the video games and table tennis tables will no longer be a part of the Hippodrome.

Haaga said the video games were not popular among students and that the renovations to the fifth floor of the Marvin Center will attract more students to the area.

“What was shared with us is that they don’t get a lot of attention from customers,” Haaga said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “The arcade games don’t get much usage, (but) apparently the pool tables are used quite a bit.”

Students interviewed in the Hippodrome Wednesday night said they were disappointed with the loss of the arcade games and table tennis.

Senior Gabriel Garcia said he was upset that the University did not consult students about the removal of the arcade.

“If they’re going to move the billiards in there, it’s just not going to be the same,” sophomore Azer Attar said. “The whole point here is that we have a place to hang out with friends. We don’t need a restaurant up here because there is already a food court downstairs.”

Junior Ryad Darweesh said it will be difficult to find a quiet spot in the Hippodrome after the restaurant and renovated pool area opens.

“This is serious. It changes the whole atmosphere because people like to come up here to find a quiet place,” Darweesh said. “But now with the restaurant . and the pool tables in the same place it’s going to be too noisy.”

WOW will feature a big-screen, high-definition television with DirecTV and XM Satellite Radio, according to a University press release. Features in the expanded seating area will include flat-screen televisions mounted in individual tables and booths.

“You literally won’t be able to turn your head without seeing a television,” Haaga said. “It’s going to be a great place to watch sporting events and election stuff . I think it’ll make the place a real destination, I hope.”

Haaga said one of the reasons the University chose Sodexho as the food-service provider to replace Aramark was the plan for WOW in the Hippodrome.

“If it had just been a restaurant; that would’ve been one thing. But the fact that WOW incorporates this entertainment package as part of the concept, is what we think is going to appeal to the University community,” Haaga said.

The wing venue will serve wings, hamburgers, wraps and salads, as well as beer and wine once it secures a liquor license. Haaga told The Hatchet earlier this month that she hopes the University and Sodexho will get the license before the end of the calendar year.

-Eric Roper contributed to this report.

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