Rhodes Hall houses the Departments of education and psychology and the Office of Professional and Graduate Studies. However, its once wildly popular computer labs have been relocated and take up residency in the carrels on the second floor of the Mason Library.
The reason for the change is to accommodate one of the college’s newest majors: nursing. The new major requires a high-tech simulation lab for nursing students to work with robotics and systems to mimic, in a safe space, some of the health care challenges they will face in the field. Information Technology Chief Officer Laura Seraichick said in the planning for the new nursing lab last year, the former Rhodes Hall computer lab, seemed to be a good fit.
The Rhodes Hall computer lab, built ten years ago, once housed 50 desktop computers. Seraichick explained that over the years because of the increase in students using laptops and other devices so many computers were no longer necessary and in turn the lab downsized to 30 Dell computers. The rest of the lab was converted into a collaborative workspace, Seraichick said, based on feedback from students.
“There was a need for a more collaborative workspace where students said we want to get together and be able to work on projects, put things up on a bigger screen and share our things,” Seraichick said.
Since then, the Rhodes Hall computer lab and workspace had become widely used by students from all majors across the campus. The main appeal of the lab was its early morning hours.
Unlike the library, which opens at 8 a.m., Rhodes Hall had an open time of 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, which offered students a thirty- minute window before 8 a.m. classes to finish up last minute assignments and most importantly print.
Now, the current computer lab in the Mason Library features 26 computers, high-speed printing, a color printer and peer support for using the Microsoft Office applications, Blackboard, and MyKSC, according to the Keene State College website.
The new collaborative workspace has moved to the west wing on the first floor of the library behind the periodicals.
“The space provides students with access to a fully wireless environment, flexible furniture, white boards and monitors mounted on the wall for displaying shared work,” said the college’s website.
Senior and Athletic Training major Hallie Zuckerman is thankful for the new public computing cluster. “My laptop just recently broke so while it’s getting fixed it has been really beneficial for me to have access to the new computers in the library so I can get my assignments done,” Zuckerman said.
However not all students are thrilled about the change. There has been an overwhelming response from students who are frustrated that there is no place for them to print out things they need before their 8 a.m. classes.
Senior and Education major Dana Magnusson said she doesn’t know anyone on or off campus with a printer she can use and therefore is completely reliant on the campus for all of her printing needs.
“I have 8 a.m. classes everyday, so the fact that I have to make it to the library before midnight to print out my assignments for the next day is a huge inconvenience for me,” Magnusson said.
Seraichick said IT is aware of this issue and they are not ignoring the student body.
“We have a printing study going on on the campus that says what are students’ needs, what are they printing, where do they need to print and we’ll be developing a model, most likely it will be something where they’ll be some central printers around the campus and students can go there and print whatever they need to print,” Seraichick said.
But the central printing stations are not expected to be fully planned, developed and executed until next year. In the mean time Seraichick confirmed there will be a temporary printing station on campus for students to use before their 8 a.m. classes, most likely in the student center.
“Within the next two weeks we’ll have [the printing station] in place for students and it’ll be very similar to how it works for them in the library. They will sign on to the computer and they can either put in a USB or whatever they want to and send it to the print station.”
Former Rhodes Hall computer lab employee, Heather Fagan, now works in the library’s computing cluster. She said she believes the printing station will be very useful to students.
“I think opening a printing station in the student center would be beneficial. I see a lot of congestion by the printers and it would be a good alternative if that printer wasn’t working or there’s a lot of people, there would just be more options,” Fagan said, “The more options the better.”
Rachel Heard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org