IT Commons offers vibrant gathering space for computer-based studies
Bringing students together for a better learning experience is the aim of the new IT Commons in the McNichols Campus Library. A 6,000 square foot area on the third floor will become a vibrant new destination where students can meet, study, learn in video-enhanced classrooms and work in small groups.
The IT Commons will feature a glass-walled entryway leading to a main lounge with two adjacent classrooms/teaching labs and a larger classroom. A smart podium in each of the classrooms will allow professors to project images from the Internet, slides and multi-media sources onto a 10-foot screen for enhanced audio-visual displays. Smaller classrooms will seat 24 students each and the large classroom will accommodate 72 students.
Students will have access to a fast wireless network, docking stations for laptops, 150 desktop computers (32 in the lounge and the rest in the classrooms/labs) and centralized printers. The center will be highly energy efficient based on its location, capacity and connectivity.
"This renovation allows for more collaborative working opportunities,” says Ed Tracy II, IT associate vice president. “It takes advantage of the synergy of the learning center and the resources of the library."
Once donor funding is in place for construction and furnishings, the renovation will be completed. Books from the third floor area have already been moved to new compact shelving on the lower level of the library.
"The books now take up to 50 percent less shelf space,” says Tammy Batcheller, associate vice president of Facilities. “Repurposing space for the IT lab frees up valuable space in the library and elsewhere on campus. We saved money by not having to build a new wing.
When open, the IT Commons will absorb most of the computer labs from the Health Professions Building, the Student Center (near the Grounds Coffeehaus), the Commerce & Finance Building and the Engineering Building. The Student Center computer area will be repurposed for entertainment, giving students a larger area to meet and socialize.
More than $100,000 has already been received toward a project goal of $250,000.
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