Macon State opens activity center, café in Warner Robins

WARNER ROBINS -- The Warner Robins campus of Macon State College now has an activity center and café for students to hang out, grab a coffee or sandwich and play a game of pool or table tennis.

“We’ve heard nothing but positive things from the students,” David Carpenter, dean of the Warner Robins campus, said at the grand opening Monday of the $275,000 Warner Robins Activity Center and Café.

A host of Houston County and Warner Robins leaders, along with college students, faculty and staff, joined Carpenter for the grand opening and ribbon cutting.

Nicknamed the WRACC and pronounced “the rack,” the 3,000-square-foot center started operation Aug. 20 and is located in Thomas Hall.

Thomas Hall was the first building on site when the campus opened in 2003 and is the renovated Thomas Elementary School, one of the oldest original buildings in Warner Robins.

John Black, Macon State’s interim president who hails from Savannah, said he appreciated the preservation of the building.

Before opening the campus, Macon State held Warner Robins classes at the Advanced Technology Park on Osigian Boulevard.

The WRACC features a snack bar area with candy bars, potato chips and other snacks, pre-made deli sandwiches and salads, some hot sandwiches, frozen foods and soft drinks. It has a small dining area of tall tables and chairs.

There’s an Xbox 360 and Wii gaming areas in the lounge as well as one table tennis table and one pool table. There’s also an outdoor covered porch and workout equipment in the fitness center.

The fitness center, which opened last year, is part of the WRACC.

“We want our students to stay on campus longer and have a chance to take a break before or after their classes,” James Hagler, director of recreation and wellness, said in a news release. “The new center will give us a chance to create more opportunities for our Warner Robins campus students. Throughout the year we’ll be organizing special events, like Wii bowling tournaments and pool and Ping-Pong competitions.”

Carpenter told those at the grand opening that campus officials are looking at expanding the hours and adding additional furniture.

For the fall semester, the WRACC will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Café hours are 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.