• 52°

Point students back in class

WEST POINT — Fall classes began this week at Point University, and there seems to be a more lively pace in downtown West Point. There’s a lot more foot traffic in the downtown area as Point students sporting the blue and gold Skyhawk look are ever-present on West 3rd Avenue before and after classes.

Downtown businesses are appreciative to have them back in town.

“We’re definitely more busy with the Point students here,” said Jessica Thompson, a server at Coach’s restaurant. “It’s nice to have them here. Everyone from Point is so friendly. We’ve had football players and band members coming in. They’re from such places as Warner Robins, Ga. and Dothan, Ala.”

Point students aren’t just customers, they’re also employees.

“We have some Point students working here, and they are great employees,” Thompson said.

Sierra Bassett, a bartender/server at Joe’s Tex Mex, said there’s a noticeable uptick in business when the students are back in town.

“There’s a noticeable increase in business,” she said, “and we have multiple employees who are Point students. We have cheerleaders, lacrosse players, soccer players and band members working here.”

Joe’s Tex Mex opened in the historic Heyman-Merz building this past April. Tuesday is trivia night and Wednesday bingo night at the restaurant and once a month there’s a biker night upstairs.

Point students – like everyone else – love going to Railroads for their milk shakes and floats, sundaes, smoothies and super pretzels.

“We’re seeing the students here, and we like having them come by,” said Store Manager Cam Tramell, “but we do good business in the summer months as well.”

Right next door to Railroads, the American Smoke House, or ASH, is set to open this fall, and down the block is Momma G’s, a popular sandwich shop.

Having the students here is a plus, but it’s not a make-or-break thing. West Point is becoming more and more of a destination for people throughout the west-central Georgia-east central Alabama region to go to eat out. The downtown restaurants continued to do well when the students were out of school.

With the Point Living Community opening behind Batson-Cook Hardware, Point is becoming more centrally located in the downtown area, which is in easy walking distance with the J. Smith Lanier II Academic Center.

One exception is the Skyhawk House, a four-story apartment complex off Sandtown Road, not far from the Kia plant. A good many Point students are living there now. There’s a growing number of students who live in the Troup-Harris-Chambers county areas who commute from home to Point. Approximately 25 percent of the current student body lives within commuting distance.