By Tori Rodgers
The Mac lab that was previously housed beneath the library in CL46 has now merged with the lab in the Johnson Center to become a larger and more sophisticated work space in JC207. The planning has been going on for a little over a year, prompted by the Timken Foundation’s generous million dollar grant, and the move was able to become a reality over the summer.
“[The Timken Foundation’s grant] was awarded specifically to the library to make a space for Center for Student Success, to increase student retention [and] student services,” Michael Garwood, the Instructional Technology Specialist, said. “Eventually the second floor of the library will be the Center for Student Success office.”
This grant and the eventual goal of having a centralized CSS office required some bigger moves that include the movement of the Mac lab, as Adam Klemann, the head of the IT department, explained.
“We made some space… for the Center for Student Success to move into,” Klemann said of the reasons behind this move. “We’ve created a large space that will better serve our students in CVPA, in music, in education, et cetera, over in the Johnson Center.”
As Klemann explained, it’s like a sliding puzzle. The Mac lab was moved from CL46 to JC207, then the CL24 math and computer science PC lab shifted over into CL46. The library’s third floor archive space moved into the CL24 space and the bookshelves from the second floor moved to the third floor, thus freeing up the second floor to become the future CSS.
Macs specifically are useful in their strong graphic design, music production, and video editing programs, enabling them to be used as a teaching space for the music, education, and business departments. Another plus to the new lab is that the presentation package is all 4K.
“The new space has computers located around the perimeter of the room,” Klemann said. “We’ve got high definition projection on one wall and then there are televisions on the other three walls… so [students] can look straight up at the content. Then those TVs can also be used [for] break out groups… [so you can] each have your own display.”
The Mac lab is an open lab, meaning that whenever the JC is open, so is the lab. In addition to these new and improved features, overflow stations and the editing suites previously in the library basement were added to the Johnson Center.
“Next to JC207, there’s JC205 the classroom, and that has four additional overflow workstations, so if there are classes in 207… you can use one of those stations in 205,” Klemann said.
One of the goals to be accomplished with the furthering of this project is to have all of the communications, visual, and performing arts (CVPA) department in one place.
“Over this next year we’ll complete the remainder of those [CVPA] offices and then probably next fall, depending on the timing, they will all be relocated to the Johnson Center,” Klemann said.
Zachary Rearick, a music education major in his junior year, worked with IT this summer and was able to get hands-on experience in developing the lab. He uses the Mac lab all the time and with his fine arts major, he practically lives in the Johnson Center.
“I use it for the music software primarily,” Rearick said. “I also use it just for the efficiency that it provides in doing homework. Just having two monitors helps a lot with productivity.”
Rearick is a frequent visitor to the lab and enjoys features like the overflow lab.
“There were many times that my free periods would line up right with a class that was meeting in [the lab] and then I wouldn’t be able to get work done, so having that [overflow] space over there that’s dedicated [as a workstation] is nice,” Rearick said.
For students like Rearick that come to work in the Mac lab, Michael Garwood stresses the importance of using an external hard drive. When files are saved directly to the Mac, the computer has to get wiped more often and will likely lead to lost work.
“[With an external hard drive] they can actually take their projects with them [and] they can work on any computer at any time because it all gets saved to that hard drive,” Garwood said.
Students would do well to follow his advice to keep the computers up and running as they ought to be. A lot of man hours and cost have went into the creation of this new Mac lab, as well as the competition and scheduling issues that arise from combining two specialized spaces into one. However, it is an event that will pay off with its outstanding functionality.
“We’re excited because we’ll have creative writing… music production… CVPA, [and] graphic design, all in the same place,” Klemann said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what sort of converged projects that happen amongst the students that are in those different programs.”