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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


The Corner Pocket Report

The following is a report written by Executive Director Gavin Keirans on how to revamp The Corner Pocket in the HUB-Robeson Center.

The Student Union Building & The Corner Pocket

The original intent of the HUB-Robeson center was to serve at the student union building at University Park.  The Corner Pocket, the billiards room located on the ground floor near the HUB Aquarium, is situated in prime real estate, yet remains largely unused.  To date, the Corner Pocket has not lived up to reasonable expectations for a for-profit enterprise in the student union building, and it has monopolized space that could otherwise be better benefiting the student body as a whole.  The key to reviving LateNight PennState at the HUB and reinforcing the original intent of the HUB-Robeson center lies in the Corner Pocket. This massive area is currently used primarily a billiard hall, yet it can be transformed to serve as the starting point for the renaissance of the student union building, beginning with the LateNight program.  Safeguard Old State has formulated a plan of action to transform the Corner Pocket into the student centered entertainment facility it is meant to be. Attempts to enact such change date back to the spring of 2007 when an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) committee led by Mike Tomaselli made a series of bold suggestions to make the Corner Pocket more attractive to students. Unfortunately, the work of that committee was been swept under the rug and never saw implementation. Safeguard Old State believes in promoting and enhancing smart policy changes. Furthering our belief for a revamped Corner Pocket is long time Penn State administrator, Dr. Stanley Latta, who in a series of meetings told us of a need for a revamped Corner Pocket. Thus, we have taken the original suggestions made by the USG committee and enhanced them to better serve the current needs of our student body.  Our goal is to transform the Corner Pocket so that there is an entertainment atmosphere similar to that of off-campus establishments. The Corner Pocket as we propose it will offer the amenities of an off campus establishment without all the risk that is involved with alcohol consumption. If executed properly, these plans will help revolutionize the state of the HUB-Robeson Center as our student union building and help empower students’ in a unique way through providing high-quality recreation space on-campus, more activities areas, partnership with the LateNight program, and the Corner Pocket.The HUB-Robeson Center is “dedicated to students” – together, we can work toward making that promise ever more real.Transform the gaming area into a production room, and place a stage for live performances to be held out in front of the room.This area is filled with an outdated game room featuring NFL Blitz 2000, an eight year old game. This area needs to be put to better use. At the very least it should be made into a production room and lounge for live bands. This could serve to control the audio and effects necessary to put on live performances. A stage should be put out in front of the production room that will allow for the Corner Pocket to be a home for live music performances. This will especially benefit Late Night at the HUB. In a Penn State Pulse survey, the number one attraction for students was live rock performances. This Corner Pocket has the space to allow for shows that would accommodate upwards of 300 people.Create a lounge with 3 plasma TVs and all-inclusive sports packages

In the back of The Corner Pocket lies an archaic big screen television that offers basic cable service. There is an extensive wall in the back that has random pictures on it currently. These pictures need to be taken down and replaced with three large plasma televisions. In the back there also need to be chairs and couches placed in order to create a lounge environment. The televisions must offer all inclusive sports packages in order to attract students. Specifically, packages that offer all game from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL needs to be made available. It is imperative further that the televisions include the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network which are not available to most students living off-campus on their Comcast packages.Replace the back two pool tables with poker tables The two pool tables in the corner are highly unused. At the same time poker has become an increasingly popular game, especially with the ESPN coverage of the tournaments. While these tables should not be used for gambling purposes, they certainly can be used for philanthropy tournaments or non-gambling purposes. This will allow for events to be held during LateNight that attract a diverse demographic set of students. These tournaments can offer prizes such as gift certificates to food establishments in the HUB, to the PSU Book Store or even corporate sponsor giveaways.  Leave two pool tables; Replace the rest with folding ping pong tables These ping pong tables will be used for daily usage just as the Pool tables were. However these can also be used for having Pong Tournaments in order to hold events at LateNight or for philanthropic purposes. Furthermore, large poker events tournaments can be held by using these ping pong tables as well. The ping pong tables can easily be moved as well to make room for concerts. They can be folded up and put into storage during the concert events and easily be moved back during regular times.  Turn the area where the Corner Pocket workers are until a full service refreshment and snack shopEssentially, make this area a bar, but without the alcohol. Offer soft drinks and snacks to students who attend concerts or any events at the Corner Pocket. This is already set up to accept Lion Cash as well as cash as it charges people to play pool. All that this would require is adding a cooler for drinks and shelves to sell basic snacks like a concert venue. Donate the old big screen television, game systems and pool tables to the various commons or sell all of this to the highest bidder in order to pay for renovation costsThe Commons have several areas where students can lounge including recreation rooms where these would be a perfect fit. Some commons already have big screen televisions and pool tables so this would serve to enhance that experience. Another option would be to sell the excess pool tables, game systems and the big screen televisions in order to help supplement the costs of renovation.The Corner Pocket Report: Estimated Renovation Costs

While an official estimate is needed for the construction by the university, we can provide estimates for the other tangible improvements. The following estimates are from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted.

3 Plasma Televisions and Mounts

Samsung HPT5064 50″ Plasma HDTV $1,339.98 and Free Shipping EachPanasonic TH-42PX75U 42″ 720p Plasma HDTV $999.98 and Free Shipping EachSamsung HPT4254 42″ Plasma HDTV $959.98 and Free ShippingPeerless ST650P Tilting Wall Mount for 32″ to 50″ Flat Panel Displays $74.99 Ping Pong Tables Stiga Spyder Table Tennis Table (EA) $299.99 without shippingStiga Master Table Tennis Table $461.99 without shippingStiga QuickPlay 2000 Table Tennis Table $360.00 without Shipping Ping Pong Balls – 144/pk and 1 dozen Ping Pong Paddle $51.98 without shipping Fridge for Drinks and Shelves for SnacksPepsi should donate fridge since they are the official drink.Frito Lays should donate a shelve since they are the official snack.  Furniture Folding Chair – Black Vinyl $17.99 (16 needed for poker tables)Screen Back Task Chair – Black $34.00 Card Tables (with website following)Maxus College Logo Table http://www.maxuspt.com/college.shtml $773Texas Holdem Poker Table w/ Cup Holders – Red Felt – Black Armrest $449.95 http://www.discountpokershop.com/ Texas Holdem Poker Set with Folding Legs $199. 95 without shipping http://www.pokersupplycentral.com/tehopotawifo.htmlTrademark Poker 96″ Hold ‘Em Poker Table $219.99 http://www.dickssportinggoods.comGLD Products 84″ Texas Hold Em’ Table and 6 Chair Set $349.99http://www.dickssportinggoods.comRed Star Aces Up 500 Executive Clay Chip Poker Set $49.53 http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4994676 500pcs 11.5g Poker Chip Set High Roller Design $26.95 http://www.amazon.com/The Corner Pocket Report: Renovation Fundraising Suggestions  Request a One-Time Large Allocation from UPAC

UPAC has made exceptions in the past for one-time large allocations. The best way to ensure that these recommendations become a reality is to have the student activity fee behind it. The HUB is in dire need of changes in order revitalize programming. The Corner Pocket, a massive room which currently goes basically unused, could help in bringing back programming. This allocation is within the mission of UPAC since it will go to funding the student union building. It is imperative that any allocation requests be accomplished in the very near future. Otherwise this may never come to fruition due to the high turnover rate of students.  Include a referendum question in the UPUA Elections, asking, “Would you be in favor of a one-time $1 fee to renovate the Corner Pocket into a Concert Venue/ Sports Lounge?”This small $1 fee would allow for an additional $35,000, helping fund the costs of the Corner Pocket in the event that UPAC does not. In any case, this $35,000 could serve as a budget to pay for future costs to the Corner Pockets including the renewal of sports packages and any renovations needed in the future.Selling Pool Tables The selling of pool tables varies drastically especially when factors of condition come strongly into play. New pool tables generally range from $1,000-$3,000 based on quality. The best bet to making profit off these pool tables is to open it up through a Penn State supported website. We can sell these pool tables off as a part of history, such as bricks or seats from an old venue. We can use the pitch that these are the original Pool Tables of the Student Union Building. Another option would be to hold a sale and get student groups like the IFC, PHC, UPUA and SPA to get behind it and bring people out. I am sure many fraternity houses or large off campus house wouldn’t mind a pool table below market value. Selling Arcade Games In looking across the internet most upright arcade games are at least $1,000 dollars and go all the way up to $3,000 dollars. Dancing games such as the one in the Corner Pocket now go for $3,000 dollars. Even if we sold these games for drastically under market value, this could be a major source of income easily bringing in $5,000. This would drastically help offset the costs. There is a dealer of Arcade Games in the Philadelphia area called TNT Amusements Inc. This company could be a possible consumer in buying these games. Also on their website is a value for the games that they sell which can be found here. This serves as a reference for establishing the value of the Arcade Games in the Corner Pocket.The Corner Pocket Report: ConclusionThe Corner Pocket is hemorrhaging financially, and a black eye on the overall operation of the HUB-Robeson Center. The lack of fiscal solvency in The Corner Pocket is deeply disturbing to Safeguard Old State, even more so that it was only revealed to us after a series of meeting with administrators as we attempted to work cooperatively toward “making life better” across campus. The Corner Pocket has the potential to be a shining star among the myriad student resources and centers on campus. That it is located in the heart of student life in the HUB-Robeson Center should only serve to underscore the need for pro-active, aggressive reform from both administrators who are specifically charged with maintaining the student union building as well as elected student leaders in the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) and their financial counterparts in the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC). Finally, we wish to here make clear our dissatisfaction with the administration for their collective lack of attention toward these much needed and past-due reforms. While we are pleased to have had the opportunity to formulate this report and proposal, it is the administration that is charged with operating and maintaining the physical plant at University Park, and when a certain operation within the University Park community needs reform – in this case, The Corner Pocket, it should be the administration taking action in consultation with elected student leadership in the UPUA.We hope that this report is illuminating, and that those in positions of authority to act will do so with speed and passion. Safeguard Old State hopes to see the majority of these changes implemented as soon as possible, and is willing and excited to work with any group or leader that requests our assistance.

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Note: The Safeguard Old State Executive Staff does not moderate the comments posted by the public to blog entries. The comments of Safeguard Old State readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Safeguard Old State.

Comments

I think revamping the Corner Pocket is a good idea, but how does PSU and the Corner Pocket plan on selling the arcade machines for renovation money, when they don’t even own them? The 3 or 4 video game machines in the Corner Pocket are owned by State Amusement, which rents space in the Corner Pocket to place them.

If anything, I’m sure State Amusement would move their machines elsewhere, rather than allow the Corner Pocket to sell them (and at ridiculous prices too…I’d buy the dancing game machine for it’s “market price” of $3,000 in an instant, knowing full well I could turn around and sell it for $8,000 at least fairly easily)

Hey, where can I get contact information to buy that ITG dedicab?

I think the idea of improving the Corner Pocket to increase traffic is great. I’ve worked there for four years, and even though our customer base has been increasing with our ads in What’s Going On and as the billiards club gains popularity, there are definite means for improvement, which you nailed.

Replacing the television with several plasmas and setting up a lounge is an excellent idea, for all the reasons you stated and more. Although furniture and plasma televisions with sports packages are expensive, it would be worth every penny for the amount of traffic they would draw through the establishment and the amount of enjoyment people would get from them. Atmospherically, it would work wonders. I agree there are also better uses for the game room, ones which would generally increase the traffic during regular hours and LateNight.

Yet despite our common ground so far, I think your ideas hit a point of diminishing returns pretty quickly. Your thought of replacing all but two of the pool tables with pong tables I find particularly perplexing. It sounds to me that the only reason you suggested pong tables was for their ability to be removed, but if that’s the case, why suggest anything at all? I can’t imagine that they would see more regular use than billiards tables, but would sit there, unused and an eyesore. Is the idea that people would pay to play ping-pong the way they pay to play pool, during the day or even at night, especially given that it’s free in the White Building? It is also at odds with your lounge; in the rare instance somebody would be playing pong, the noise of it would be very offputting to everybody else in the room (much the way the dancing machine is now). The room wouldn’t feel cool or comfortable, but, well, like a ping-pong room.

The expense and effort of creating a fourth concert stage within the HUB would also require serious consideration, and its benefits in my mind are too tenuous to necessitate hauling everything that currently exists in The Corner Pocket out of it. I see nothing wrong with selling snacks at the counter, but considering how readily available snacks already are, it’s a pretty neutral effort.

I hope SOS and the Corner Pocket can cooperate to see that the changes best for everyone will be the ones that take place, if changes are indeed to happen. Some of the improvements you’ve outlined, if enacted, would be a great addition to the HUB’s current activities. I would be interested in reading an elaboration on how ping-pong tables and another concert venue bring anything new to the table, especially in light of your concerns about the income and customer base of the facility.

Thanks for your interest in improving the quality of life at Penn State.

WKPS needs the space from where the studio ends to the outer wall of the building.

before you do another thing with this “report” consult with WKPS as to what it requires.

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