By Adam Baker/Editor

Owning a bowling alley of his own is a dream Richard Libertino has had for nearly ten years.Libertino, from Chincoteague Island in Virginia, had his wish come true when Eastern decided to sell its bowling alley on the online auction site eBay.

“I really want the people of Chincoteague to come out and see what they have been missing,” he said. “(Bowling) is a fantastic way to meet new people and just get to know one another.”

With a high bid of $102.50, Eastern’s old 12-lane bowling alley, located in the basement of the Powell Building, is off to an island in Virginia.

“I will have to put it in storage until I can make a home for it here on Chincoteague Island,” he said.

The deal, though, isn’t as sweet as it may sound.

“The guy that bought it, in one way he got a bargain, but in another way he’s got to pay a professional crew to come in … and then two tractor-trailers to haul it to Virginia, so it’s going to cost him quite a bit to remove it,” said Storekeeper Eldon Lainhart, who is in charge of placing Eastern’s surplus on eBay.

Lora Snider, director of purchasing, said the university estimated the cost of removing all the equipment between $10,000 and $15,000.

Libertino wouldn’t comment on the price of the removal team he’s hired but said it is “just a little more than I thought before I bid.”

“It’s saved us a tremendous amount of money in not having to use our resources and our staff to (remove it) or to hire a company to do it,” Snider said. “From our standpoint, we’re satisfied with (the sell).”

Libertino is happy with the sell, too; however, he added a lot depends on how the dismantling job goes.

Snider said the university required the buyer to have $1 million liability insurance and worker’s compensation in the amount of $500,000. She expects crews to be on campus this week to begin the removal process.

The sale, according to the online description, includes pinsetters, ball returns, lanes, scoring tables and overhead displays. The description also notes the equipment is approximately 35 years old.

Libertino said he hopes to have the center set up within 18 months.

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” he said.

The bowling alley is just one of many items Eastern has sold on eBay under the name “ekusurplus.”

Other sales include abandoned bikes, outdated computer equipment and projector bulbs – proving one man’s junk truly is another man’s treasure.

Until last year, the university sold its surplus during an annual auction held on campus in August.

“The auction really was worthwhile 10 years ago, and then it seemed to be just be more work than the money it was generating,” Snider said.

Snider said the idea of moving the auction to cyberspace came from the state. She explained the Commonwealth of Kentucky Surplus Property started selling items on eBay a few months before Eastern.

Eastern has made about $4,000 from eBay sales, Snider said, more than some past campus auctions.

The only expenses from selling the items online, she said, are minimal posting fees. Expenses for the campus auction, such as auctioneer fees and advertising, were a lot more, she said.

Lainhart said other advantages to the new system include tapping into a broader audience.

“Everybody’s got a computer in their home anymore,” he said. “This way you don’t have to go out and look for things. You can just sit at home in the middle of the night and look and see if what you want to buy is on there.”

Lainhart said he has encountered few problems since using eBay.

“We have had a couple of people bid that had no intention of buying anything,” he said. “But eBay is pretty good about that. If somebody does that then they refund your fees and stuff. We haven’t lost anything like that.”

Snider said most all surplus items will now be sold using eBay, but the university is not yet comfortable selling vehicles on the site.

Online moneymakers

Below are a few surplus items Eastern has sold on eBay.

* 12-lane bowling alley, $102.50
* 21-speed Mongoose bike missing rear wheel, $2.26
* Printer ribbon, $2.25
* Nearly 30 hard drives, 6 printers, 3 scanners, 20 monitors, 30 keyboards and a box of assorted power cords, $25

Reach Adam at

adam_baker38@eku.edu