New Open Access Lab

As the number of students using campus computer labs continues to soar, some relief is in sight. This winter, the Lab Management team converted a small computer room into an open-access lab in 307 Surge IV, adding more computers to meet increasing computer usage demands and increasing the number of open-access labs to four. Last quarter saw nearly 100 percent usage across all labs during the peak periods of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, according to recent lab statistics. To make matters worse, an average of 22 people and as many as 40 people were waiting for a computer during peak usage times. The new open-access lab, which opened April 24, will help offset the number of students who have to wait before a computer becomes available. The new lab has a total of 17 computers: 10 Dell PCs with 17" monitors, and seven Mac PowerPC 6500s with 14" monitors. The computers are equipped with the standard software of MS Office, Netscape Communicator, and other programs found in the other open access labs. Drawing on the success of the Station at the M.U., the new open-access lab will also have five quick-access stations (where students can check email or perform other quick tasks online) and two computer stations reserved for wheelchair access.