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Preserving C.O.W. values in new spaces

Today, Scot Lanes will be closing its doors for good. Beginning over the winter break, the space will be transformed to make way for new study and multi-purpose areas, as voted upon by the school administration. After less than a year of deliberation and after almost 50 years of serving the community, a piece of The College of Wooster history and tradition will be lost.

When Lowry Center was constructed in 1968, recycled bowling machines and less-than-ideal wood paneling were added on the basement level to form Scot Lanes. Fast-forward half a century, and the school is trading ping-pong tables and score sheets for over-plush armchairs and (hopefully) less hideous wall designs.

For some, the news of Scot Lanes’ closure comes as 1) no surprise and 2) seemingly irrelevant information. To those students, I hope you enjoy your new meeting rooms and lounge areas. For others, they may realize that today marks a significant change in the way that the school is slowly erasing pieces of Wooster’s history by adapting for a future that focuses less and less on the importance of preserving the past.

However, it wasn’t the sole decision of the administration to modernize the Scot Lanes area. In fact, student feedback on whether to convert the space or leave the lanes showed that the majority of students polled were largely in favor of the former. At student and administration meetings to discuss plans for the Lowry renovation, some students even questioned as to why there was a need to keep the bowling alley if our $1 admission rate isn’t enough to cover the cost of employee wages.

I am proud to say that since beginning at Scot Lanes more than two years ago, I had the pleasure of acting as event and financial managers. Working in Scot Lanes meant always being available to tackle and unhinge whatever pin was lodged in the jaws of the decaying bowling machines, or fending off random ping-pong balls that consistently found their way to my forehead. But walking in was like stepping into a vortex where the hipsters of today are just regular people, where bowling hadn’t yet become a boring excuse for a pastime and where those around you defined your community, not the number of friends you have online.

But for all the annoying quirks and flaws that Scot Lanes had, it also had lot to offer to both students and community members. Every Tuesday, the Wooster community crowded the lanes thanks to Professor Thomas Tierney’s community service initiative that connected C.O.W. volunteers to adults with developmental disabilities. As difficult as it was sometimes working those shifts, they always reminded me that I chose Wooster specifically because of its dedication to students and the rest of the community.

As I come to accept the fact that Scot Lanes will no longer be a campus fixture to me when I return next January, I hope that the new space will reflect the community values that Scot Lanes embodied. And in moving forward, I hope all students will come to the defense of preserving our school’s history, even if it’s one that hasn’t personally affected you. Scot Lanes will continue to be a reminder of the importance of tradition and community, even after the last frame has been played.

Olivia Holland, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at OHolland19@wooster.edu.

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