Bowling has changed over the last 30 to 40 years, Mike Lucovitz, the Hill Bowling Center manager acknowledges. The old smoky, dark bowling alleys have given way to clean, well-lit family entertainment, and in keeping with that concept, an interior face-lift and equipment upgrade will be ongoing as the center closes May 2 for the summer.
"The contractor has 120 days to finish the project, so we're anticipating August, early September at the latest to reopen," he said of the $190,000 project planned to give the center the latest in scoring equipment and other upgrades.
A new Qubica scoring system will replace the old CRT 36-inch screens with 42-inch LCD viewing screens. The newer updated food and snack bar area dÃ©cor will extend to the customer service desk and other areas of the bowling center. Included in the upgrade, will be a new door compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act so that individuals will have access to the facility with the push of a button.
"The type of clientele we work with as bowlers -- gone are the single-ball bags that you used to see in the '70s. Everybody has a three-ball bag or a four-ball bag, so they're on wheels. It will make it easier for them to access the facility," said Lucovitz.
"This latest renovation will truly make the Hill Air Force Bowling Center a state-of-the-art facility with full accessibility," said Janet Seachris, chief of Community Services about the project. "When the doors reopen, it will be just in time for fall bowling leagues. This family-friendly establishment is also the perfect place for birthday parties, family night bowling, group events and is a great location for lunch, with daily specials. Make sure to check out the exciting changes this fall."
"The summertime is the ideal time for us to do these types of projects," Lucovitz explained. The trend in bowling patronage is family use and group events.
"Because we cleaned it up, got rid of the smoking, families very conscious of secondhand smoke were more willing to bring their families into the environment," he said.
As far as group activity or Wingman functions, the center can accommodate as many as 120 for a large group. "We see so much more business by groups coming in here in the afternoon to recreate as a group than we ever did," Lucovitz said. The last month of bowling in April followed the Wingman concept closely as Hill sponsored a program and got major command approval.
That month's specials gave groups the opportunity to use the center as a place "to get to know your co-workers," he said.
Lucovitz, who has been with the center approximately 33 years, encourages everyone to come out and check out the facility in the fall. "We've been very fortunate that we've been profitable over the years and we've had great leadership that has allowed us to reinvest our profits into the facility," he said. "Our goal is to provide our customers and guests with the best Air Force Bowling Center."
With the new scoring system, updated interior, and continuing great customer service it sounds as though the center is on track to score big.