Wake-up calls among perks

Ashlee Clark

Prank callers on the Hill may have to put their dialing fingers on hold this semester.

With the installation of a new telephone system, students, faculty and staff at Western now have access to caller ID. The new system, installed during the summer break by Avaya Communication, also includes perks such as wake-up calls, three-way calling and voicemail.

That suits Louisville senior Julie Hobbs.

Hobbs said she believes that prank callers may be deterred by the caller ID system.

“I like it because last year we had a problem with really dirty phone calls,” she said.

Richard Kirchmeyer, vice president for Information Technology, said the $1.2 million phone system was installed June 20.

“Things that we were not able to do with the old system, we can do with the new system,” he said.

Kirchmeyer said the old phone system was more than 12 years old and its manufacturer stopped supporting it in December 2001.

“We couldn’t even get parts for it,” he said.

Kirchmeyer said the university will add a new prefix to campus phone numbers that will allow additional numbers for students, faculty and staff.

A number five was added to existing numbers at the university in order to differentiate between the old and new exchanges, which will be used sometime in the next month, Kirchmeyer said.

The new prefix, which has not yet been given, will be used in the dorms and the old “745” numbers will be given to faculty and staff, allowing for more numbers to be used across campus.

Some see the additional digit as more of a hassle than convenience.

“I liked it a lot better when I had to only remember four numbers,” Seattle senior Melissa Reed said.

Being mindful of an extra number has been a little bewildering for new arrivals in dorms.

“That was a little confusing,” said Hebron senior Kate Breitholle, who has since gotten used to the extra “5.”

Kirchmeyer said students will benefit from the features of the new system.

“At least they’ll have no excuses for missing 8 o’clock classes,” he said of the wake-up calls now available with the system.

The communication bonuses across campus have already began to solve problems.

By the end of September, students also will be able to check voice mails and faxes from their computers, Kirchmeyer said.

There will be no additional charges for most of the services, Kirchmeyer said. The voice mail service will be optional and will cost $20 a semester per room.

The only problems will be “getting used to the 5 and solving our wiring plant problems,” Kirchmeyer said.

He said the current wiring plant does not support the new system.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected].