Syracuse University’s Kimmel Computer Laboratory slated for $400,000 in summer renovations
Syracuse University’s Kimmel Computer Laboratory slated for $400,000 in summer renovationsApril 21, 2001Mark Owczarskimaowczar@syr.edu
The Kimmel Computer Laboratory, the most heavily used student computing facility on the Syracuse University campus, will be completely renovated over the summer. When students return to campus this fall, they will find the computer lab with new, up-to-date computer technology and an aesthetically pleasing work environment. The roughly $400,000 renovation project, which includes the cost of both the building renovation and new computers, is funded in part by proceeds from the SU football team’s 1999 appearance in the FedEx Orange Bowl, the Academic Affairs Functional Improvements Fund, and SU Computing and Media Services (CMS). The project will begin immediately following the University’s May 13 Commencement and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 16–before classes begin for the fall semester. “This project will enhance the learning environment for students and move the University forward in achieving its vision as a student-centered research university,” says Christopher Danek, academic space planning assistant in the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “When Kimmel first opened, Syracuse was one of the first universities to recognize the importance of open access to technology for its students. This renovation illustrates the University’s ability to develop facilities that respond to the changing needs of the students and raises the benchmark for student computing facilities.” “I think students will be very pleased when they return next fall and see a completely renovated Kimmel Computer Laboratory,” says David Hoalcraft, manager of the Computing and Media Services Information Center. “The ideas encompassed in the project came directly from the students. They told us what they wanted in a computer lab, and their feedback guided us in this project.” The Office of Design and Construction will oversee the construction of the workspace environment, and CMS will oversee the installation of 65 new computers, two printers, one Braille printer and two digital flat bed scanners. Highlighting the improvements to Kimmel is the construction and configuration of custom-designed workstations for the new computers that will result in a more spacious work environment. Students will have more work room at the 59 sit-down computer workstations because the central processing unit (CPU) will be stored underneath the desktop.
“More than anything else, students told us that they wanted more room in each workstation for their books and notebooks,” says Hoalcraft. “After the renovations, students will find they will have more room in which to work, and they will work in a much more comfortable environment.” The renovated facility will also feature three group collaboration rooms, plus an enclosed room with two flat bed scanners that can be used by teams of two to four students on group projects or by individual students with special needs. The enclosed, glass-walled rooms will have a computer, conference-style seating, an active network port into which students can plug a notebook computer, and a white board to assist with group projects. In addition, six “express e-mail stations” will be set up in Kimmel for students who want to do a quick check of e-mail accounts or print out a document. The Kimmel help desk will be completely redesigned to create a more customer-friendly environment. “Rather than simply providing a counter to lean on, the help desk will have several important features, such as additional ports, moveable screens, a Braille printer and improved lighting, just to name a few,” says Paul Billings, senior project manager in the Office of Design and Construction. “The help desk will also feature a three-foot by six-foot video graphics board that will allow Computing and Media Services staff to relay important information to students.” Billings notes several other improvements to the Kimmel lab, including the installation of a new central air conditioning system, improved lighting, larger renovated restrooms, and new mechanical and electrical systems. While Kimmel is closed this summer for renovation, CMS will keep two computer labs in Link Hall (Rooms 102 and 110) open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with help desk support; summer students requiring assistance will be able to call or vist the help desk in Room 116 of Hinds Hall, which will have expanded hours. “If we find that these two labs are too crowded, we have the ability to open and staff other computer facilities on campus,” says Nancy O’Leary, a CMS administrator. “Computer assistance will always be a phone call or e-mail away, and we will send technical support staff to the labs in Link if that is necessary to answer a student’s computer question.” Questions related to computer lab hours and help desk schedules should be directed to O’Leary at 443-3807 or firstname.lastname@example.org