24-hour computer lab open

Shawntaye Hopkins

Procrastinators take note.

The computer lab on the first floor of Downing University Center opened this semester as the only lab on campus available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The lab will stay open everyday except for holidays and university closed days such as Spring Break.

“We like to try to give students the service they need,” said Jim Sanders, director of Academic Technology.

Sanders isn’t sure of lab availability during the summer.

Students should enter DUC through the first floor entrance to access the computer lab after DUC closes. All other doors leading to the rest of the building, including the elevators, will be locked after hours.

The lab will be under 24-hour video surveillance to assist in security and supervision.

Also, at least one lab assistant will be available to help students with operational problems during the day and two or more from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. and on the weekends.

All lab assistants positions have been filled.

The computer lab has 24 Dell computers for student use. One of those computers will be available for scanning purposes soon.

Sanders said there is a chance other 24-hour computer labs will open on campus. He plans for a larger one in Media and Technology Hall to open fall 2003.

Sanders said the idea of a 24-hour computer lab has been around for awhile. Students have requested “odd hours” for the computer lab to him and through surveys.

“It came up as part of the information technology strategic plan for the university,” Sanders said.

It’s difficult to have a 24-hour lab in other facilities like Grise Hall because the lab has limited access after the building closes.

Utilization overnight thus far has been moderate because many students don’t know about the new hours, said James Kennedy, computer laboratory operations manager for Grise Hall and DUC.

Kennedy expects turnout to increase as the semester progresses into midterms and finals.

“Students have a place to go if they want to be night owls,” he said.

Craig Poole, a freshman from Bradenton, Fla., believes the computer will be useful to students and had only two words describing why.

“Last minute,” he said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]