Construction moves computer lab to the Union

Students have about 100 fewer computers on campus now that the Warnock Engineering Building project is underway.

The construction forced the closure of one of two main computer labs in the Merrill Engineering Building and restricted use for non-computer science majors at the other lab.

The result has been overwhelming congestion at other open labs around campus, according to Jeff Folsom, Marriott computer lab manager.

“We have had to open up overflow labs to deal with added users,” Folsom said.

At noon Tuesday, nearly every one of the 400 computers at the Marriott Library were in use.

One place where the congestion could be alleviated is at the Union.

“We are always grasping for space,” said Whit Hollis, Union director. “The lab in the Union has some of the most used computers on campus.”

The Dean of the College of Engineering, Michael Kay, predicted these effects.

“We knew this [the closure of the engineering lab] would affect students,” Kay said.

For that reason, Kay and other key players expedited the search and acquisition of a new lab, to be located in the Union’s basement.

The $200,000 Cyber Caf-unofficially named-should be ready for use during the first week in March. Construction is ahead of schedule and computers could be available before then, however, according to Regina Schaub, director of space and planning management. The Cyber Caf will power more than 120 new computers and supply hook-ups for an additional 60 laptops.

“The lab will be a new kind of an experience in computing,” Kay said.

Located just below the food court in the Union, the Cyber Caf will have library assistance, multimedia projection, streaming television and extended hours.

“We’re quite sure it will be a very popular place,” Hollis said. He wants the lab to be convenient for the 14,000 people that walk through the Union every day.

In the meantime, U officials are directing students to the multimedia center in the Marriot Library and the lab on the first floor of the Union.

“We put this project together extremely fast,” Kay said.

“I’m sure everyone will love the end result.”

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