Computer lab opening delayed

Shawntaye Hopkins

Some procrastinators and night owls may miss the 24-hour Downing University Center computer lab that was open last semester.

But those students will get a larger 24-hour lab with more features in the Mass Media and Technology Hall – the only question is when.

Although most of Media Hall is up and running, the student computer lab is still closed because of technicalities and shipment delays.

Richard Kirchmeyer, vice president for Information Technology, said he hopes the lab will open by Thanksgiving.

Masako Barnaby, coordinator for student technology, said some electrical wiring has to take place and network connections have to be hooked up before the lab can open. She said there’s also not enough power to run all the equipment in the lab.

Barnaby said several furniture units that were ordered separately from the bulk did not arrive until Tuesday.

She said all the computers could not be installed until the units arrived. The lab consists of 100 personal computers and 12 Apple computers.

Frankfort sophomore Faith Hood said she does homework and research and checks her e-mail often at the Helm-Cravens Library lab. She said there are often distractions because the lab is too crowded and sometimes noisy.

Hood lives in Barnes-Campbell Hall.

“You kind of have to get the energy and get motived to walk up here,” she said.

Media Hall is closer to the dorms at the bottom of the Hill. Hood said she will be glad when she hears the 24-hour lab has opened.

Barnaby said the delays in construction at Media Hall carried over to the lab.

“The priority was the classrooms,” Barnaby said. “They had to finish the classrooms before school started.”

Kirchmeyer said he wants all the work done before he allows students to come in.

In addition to providing more room than DUC’s former 24-hour lab, students have several other features to look forward to in the Media Hall lab.

Barnaby said the Media Hall computer lab will be the largest on the Hill. The library lab has about 100 computers.

Kirchmeyer said he hopes to have soft music “that will dull the constant clicking of 120 students all at once.”

The lab includes an e-mail station near the door where students can stand, check their e-mail and leave quickly, Kirchmeyer said.

It also has a lounge and study area, he said.

Reducing the number of computers in the library lab is being considered because of overcrowding, she said. The computers could be added to the new lab.

Kirchmeyer said the lab in DUC closed because of complications from the building’s renovation.

Water leaked from the ceiling over the summer, he said.

Barnaby said the lab in DUC will probably not re-open as a 24-hour lab because Media Hall is nearby.

Student workers for the new lab have already been hired but are currently working at other labs until the Media Hall lab opens, she said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]