Bowlers at Down Under take trip down memory lane

UT's recreation center, Down Under, is set to be demolished, along with the rest of the University Center. 5-2-14

(WBIR-Knoxville) A staple at the University of Tennessee will be gone by this time next year.

The campus recreation center, Down Under, is set to be demolished, along with the rest of the University Center in early spring of 2015. This also means the end of UT's bowling alley.

"This is where I met a lot of my lifelong friends. I met my husband here," Amy Anderson said.

Anderson started working at Down Under as a student; now she is the recreation coordinator.

"I was a very shy student coming out of high school. I was able to come down here, make some new friends, get involved with the bowling club, work through some leadership positions. So developmentally, it's been fantastic," Anderson explained.

Down Under first opened with four lanes in 1954 and eventually grew to 12 lanes in 1967. It has stayed the same size since.

Crews are working on a new student union; phase one will be completed in the spring of 2015. Then, phase two begins, which includes the demolition of the University Center. Once it's demolished, crews will add 248,000 square feet to house several different spaces, including recreation spaces.

"It will not have bowling. It will have a smaller recreation area featuring billiards and table tennis and foosball, and those kinds of things," said Jim Dittrich, director of the University Center.

The bowling alley is also used by the general public.

Kaycee Collins, 17, first bowled here at 12 years old. She's considering UT for college; by the time she would be a freshman, Down Under will be gone.

"It's close to home and it's got some great memories," she said. "It'll be a sad day when they actually close and start tearing it down. It has a lot of memories for a lot of people."

The bowling alley will at least be open through the fall semester.


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