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Computer lab benefits students

By Nonie Bennah
On November 10, 2005

Students are taking full advantage of the Culp Center's computer lab, so much that record numbers are now logging on and staying a while.
The demand for computer access is high, especially when you're a college student.
ETSU has a total of 1,200 student-accessible computers of which more than 100 are in the most popularly visited lab, the Culp lab. This is especially the case in just coming out of midterms into that final home stretch of the semester.
The Culp computer lab boasts the largest in the Tennessee Board of Reagents region, according to Vincent Thompson, manager of the information technology department. This comes as a surprise when it's difficult to find an unoccupied computer in the Culp lab, especially between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
"In a typical day, there is a wait," student lab worker Matt Brown said.
Much of this is due to ETSU's record enrollment in recent years thanks to the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship awards.
Staff members know the Culp lab is operating at maximum capacity, and have seen a need for change. The staff sees a continuing rise of use of the lab's computers by students, and plan to take action.
At the last Technology Access Fee (TAF) meeting, committee members mentioned the idea of maybe increasing the Culp lab units by 15, but negotiations are still under way. Vincent Thompson said if the unit increase fails to pass, they will look to identify more places to have units installed.
At this stage, this would not increase the student fees for technology and in that case Thompson said he did not see another lab being built in the near future. The TAF Committee funds projects like these, and with a limited budget, only so much can be done at a time.
"We're more concerned about keeping the equipment up to date," student lab worker Jonathan Stanton said.
The Information Technology Center has all computers on a three-year rotation cycle, to let students access the most up-to-date computer technology as feasibly possible. The upkeep of these computers is anywhere from $250 to $550 a year depending on the condition of the computer. This is funded by the TAF committee. The technology fee of $25 paid by students each semester, only covers the cost of printouts.
With this $25 allotment, students currently pay 5 cents per printed page. If all the money is spent, the total evens out to 500 printed pages.
For a relatively good deal, students can access high-speed Internet, scan, print and finish homework, but there might be a waiting line at the Culp Center.
In the meantime, Thompson urges students to use other labs located in Lucille Clement, Sam Wilson and departmental labs in various buildings across campus that are more easily accessible. The lab is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-2 a.m., Friday 8 a.m.-midnight, Saturday noon-midnight, and Sunday noon-2 a.m.
For more information contact the Office Information of Technology at 439-4648.

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