Busy computer room reopens with new look, more stations

This summer, the popular computer room in 163 Shields Library enjoyed a much-needed makeover. The 16-year-old furniture was removed and gave way to brand new Quick Access stations, among other features, preparing the room to serve more people more quickly.

The room also has gained a different layout, designed to improve organization and traffic control. That will be important as the campus handles an estimated record enrollment of 30,550 students this fall.

163 Shields is one of the busiest places on campus. In the spring quarter alone, students logged in to the campus computer system 34,000 times from this room. To handle the demand, this summer Computer Lab Management has added three stations and converted 10 more into 10-minute Quick Access stations, where users can do short tasks like quickly check email without stopping to take a seat.

Even so, the campus expects that students will usually have to wait for a computer in 163 Shields, a popular drop-in site thanks to its prime location. The staff hasn't decided exactly how they will manage the line, but the layout leaves options open. They plan to try different configurations and see what works best.

A station with a powered lift is now available as well, so that users in wheelchairs can easily adjust the station's height.

Although staff hoped to remodel the entrance to the room too, considerations like traffic flow and computer space took priority. The entrance will have to wait until the next makeover, but the other changes are complete--just in time for the influx of new students, ready to take their place in line.

The room opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26. For the fall, 163 Shields will normally be open from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to midnight on Sunday.