TIME White House

The White House Is Renovating Its Bowling Alley

Harry Truman White House Bowling Alley
President Harry S. Truman rolls one down the alley at the formal opening of the White House bowling alley on April 19, 1947 in Washington. AP

What deficit?

This post has been updated:

The exclusive bowling lanes reserved for White House employees and their guests are getting an upgrade.

According to a federal contractor posting, the General Services Administration is seeking to modernize the 1940s-era lanes, which were first located in the West Wing near what is now the Situation Room. The two-lane Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley was moved to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in 1955 for the use of White House staffers.

The bowling alley was recently photographed by POLITICO, which described “chipped lanes and worn-out shoes” in the basement getaway. “It has been fifteen years since these lanes have had any professional, industry standard maintenance, modifications, repairs or attention,” the GSA wrote in the posting. “They are now irreparable.”

The government is seeking to demolish the existing lanes and gutters in order to repair the aging substructure, and replace the wood lanes with synthetic ones.

“The objective here is to replace the current, damaged and out dated lanes, approaches, pin setter platform (or pin deck) and gutters with new and modern products,” the GSA added. “Specifically for the lanes, approach and pin deck, installing phenolic synthetic (or “green”) material. Any and all replacement items will meet industry standard specifications, including variance tolerance set forth by the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). Contractor shall ensure proper repairs are made to the sub structure (as needed to meet USBC specifications), if any are found.”

“It could use [the renovations],” one recent bowler told TIME on the condition his name not be used. “It’s quaint and feels old. There’s no electric scoreboard, so you have to score by hand—which is just debilitating when you’re focused on bowling a 300 like I am.”

Some sections of the demolished bowling lanes will be turned into “custom frames” by the GSA.

The EEOB is located inside the 18-acre White House compound, just steps across West Executive Drive from the West Wing. A separate one-lane bowling alley lies under the North Portico of the White House and was added by avid bowler-in-chief Richard Nixon in 1969 for use by the First Family and guests.

It is not clear how much the new bowling lanes will cost. A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: 7:40 p.m.: A White House official tells TIME that the bowling alley renovation will no longer be moving forward. A cancellation notice to the bid solicitation was posted by the GSA late Wednesday. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus criticized the White House’s priorities in a tweet Wednesday.

With reporting by Mark Thompson/Washington.

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