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Hanging out at Hideaway

February 21, 2017

Bobby Dowling, Lambright director, cuts the ribbon and opens the new hammock center in Hideway Park. – Photos by Ashley Kober

 

Geaux Hammock and Intramural Center set up group hang for Tech students

 

Dillon Nelson
Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

 

Spring is just around the corner and, Louisiana Tech`s Intramural Center is encouraging students to let it all hang out with a little help from a Tech alumnus.

 

Tech’s Intramural Center has paired with Geaux Hammock and its owner Clark Smith to set up hammock stations around campus.

 

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in Hideaway Park Wednesday, Feb. 8 before the prototype area was opened. Bobby Dowling, head of the Intramural Center, spoke before the ribbon was cut.

 

“This is our test site that we’re going to begin with before we set up more around campus; we see many of them using the trees, but this makes it where they can get in a little community, talk and do homework together,” he said. “Students can now come up to Lambright and show us their ID, they can come here and then bring it back at the end of the day.”

 

Dowling said he wanted to work with Smith because he was a Tech graduate. He said he also thought his idea sounded straightforward and beneficial to both entities.

 

“We like his hammocks because they are really durable,” Dowling said. “It costed us hardly anything to put the station up either.”

 

Dowling said it is amazing how many people already frequent Hideaway Park. He said everything the group does is to lure even more people outside, and this hammock area is the first in a planned expansion.

 

“We have a beautiful indoor facility here at Tech but what we’re trying to do is increase the amount of activities outside,” he said.

 

Smith said, along with Tech, he has worked with Louisiana State University and University of Arkansas, with plans to work with University of Lafayette as well.

 

“I’m excited because our market is the college student,” he said. “They’re the ones that buy more of these than anyone.”

 

Smith said one particular quality which makes his hammocks perfect for these sort of areas, is their 11-foot length as opposed to the typical 9-foot length of other hammocks. He said this length allows for optimal comfort for the user.

 

“ENO hammocks or Grand Trunk, those are the two national brands, all look exactly the same with 9-feet, 4 inches,” he said. It’s harder to get that diagonal lay because the hammock is shorter.”

 

Emily Essex, Lambright events and intramural coordinator, enjoys the new hammocks donated to the Lambright.

Smith said there is only one piece of fabric in his hammocks, which is another differentiating factor.

 

“With every other hammock on the market, there’s three pieces of fabric,” he said. “These three pieces are sewn together so you have this tight seam going under your arm and the back of your shoulders that is just uncomfortable.”

 

Kathy Wyatt, director of the Technology Business Development Center, said she came to the ceremony because she wanted to support a local entrepreneur.

 

“For Ruston, for us, entrepreneurship is outstanding and wonderful,” she said. “Any kind of collaboration the university can have that supports economic development is just an added bonus.”

 

Wyatt said this project should be the start of several nice additions to the Tech campus.

 

“I think it’s wonderful that people will have a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “It just a great environment and it will encourage people to use the park more.”

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