With the new recreation center set to open by the start of the next school-year, many students are getting excited. This massive complex will house a four-court gymnasium, a full-size swimming pool, a fitness area, squash courts, rowing machines, locker rooms and athletic offices; however, the new facility won’t have a bowling alley. WPI currently has Gompei’s Gutters, but this unique campus bowling alley is slated to close at the conclusion of the term.
Housed in the basement of Alumni Gym, Gompei’s Gutters is a six-lane bowling alley. Complete with a computerized scoring system and black lights, the alley is special, especially since WPI is one of few college campuses featuring a bowling alley right on campus. Not only can students use the alley in their free time, but Gompei’s Gutters also enables WPI to run its highly popular bowling intramural league and gym classes.
One reason that the bowling alley is set to close is the technological issues that frequently plague it. Despite the alley’s recent renovation, which gave it automatic, computerized scoring, it is not uncommon for multiple lanes to be either closed or not fully operational. In fact, during an ice cream social for students last month, none of the lanes had the scoring system working. While everyone could still bowl just for fun, it was still frustrating that the scoring system was not operational.
While the new recreation center and Alumni Gym renovation are much anticipated, the closure of Gompei’s Gutters is a disappointment for many WPI students. Hoping to preserve the alley, a “Save Gompei’s Gutters” Facebook page was created by students back in November and has since garnered nearly 200 likes.
But the support for Gompei’s Gutters extends beyond the social media site as many students expressed their wishes that the alley be kept open.
“It’s worth keeping it open. I worked Wednesday nights and it wasn’t usually crowded,” said Bror Axelsson ’15, who worked at Gompei’s Gutters for his work study this year. “But it was popular amongst families and especially for birthdays, so it would be a waste to throw that away.”
Kyle Chen ’15 visited the alley multiple times with his insight group and also shared his opinions about the alley’s closure, “Why close the alley when it’s so popular? It’s puzzling since it’s a very fun and unique part of campus.”
However, Gompei’s Gutters does not appeal solely to current students. Not only can alumni return to bowl a few games, but the alley also plays a role in the overnight experience for prospective students as it often houses an ice cream social where the students can really get to know each other in a relaxed setting. With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, Gompei’s Gutters could be in its last few weeks of operation unless the administration reverses its decision to close the alley. The new recreation center is sure to be popular amongst students, faculty and alumni, however it unfortunately may have helped lead to the demise of this unique aspect of WPI.