In short order, Union Complex management took advantage of the winter break to revamp the Union’s game room to appeal to community tastes.
Since its original iteration, the Union game room has shrunk in size, scope and profitability. Originally encompassing both its current location and the space occupied by the R.C. Lounge, the room was split with the completion of the Thad Cochran Center.
Sid Gonsoulin, interim director of Union programs, said since the game room was moved, traffic has dropped precipitously and its budget fell into the red. He said in order to understand and reverse this trend, Union Complex management began conducting polls and focus groups.
“It gave us a good idea of some of the things that they wanted to have,” Gonsoulin said.
Gonsoulin said from this in- put, management developed a number of features for the game room to increase traffic, including new flat screen TVs, a PS4, new vending machines, two tournament quality ping-pong tables, free play for all games and longer hours.
“The price of admission is to show your ID,” he said. ”The reason that we’re making people show their ID cards is we don’t want the community coming in here and taking [students’] space.”
Jeff Taylor, associate director of facilities and technology, said he hopes making the games free will encourage students to visit the game room.
“We don’t think it’s feasible to make money off of this, so this is basically going to be a ser- vice to the students,” he said.
Junior elementary education major Kijana Potee said he thinks more students will visit the game room to enjoy the new features, especially now that it will be free.
“I’m definitely going to go back now,” Potee said.
The room is set to open Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. Union management is busy installing the room’s final touches. Taylor said some policies and detail, however, are still up in the air.
“The name is something we’re not 100 percent sure of yet,” Taylor said.
Previously called “The Locker Room,” Taylor said management is considering changing the name and theme of the room to be more inclusive and modern.
Gonsoulin said management is considering a number of ways to include the university and Hattiesburg communities.
“What about a student organization that wanted to come and use the whole thing?” he said. “We may do a rental charge on that, but it won’t be like $1000.” Additionally, Gonsoulin said since student IDs are required for entry, management is still figuring out exactly how visitors will be permitted.
“Policies and rules of procedures for the game room are in process right now of being developed,” he said. “And those policies would have information regarding the user groups besides our students.”
After its reopening, the game room will be open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 pm., Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.