Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Consolidation set to begin in Luther Bonny computer lab

Posted on September 29, 2015 in News
By Krysteana Scribner

By Krysteana Scribner & Zachary Searles

Students looking for a place to do homework and work on computers will no longer be able to utilize the space in the Luther Bonney computer lab, starting at the beginning of October.

“We did a whole press conference and sent out an email about the changes that were going to take place, and we announced that we were consolidating student services, financial aid, admissions, student success, etc,” said Chris Quint, Executive Director of Student Affairs.

The computer lab in Luther Bonney is being split up in order to make space to move offices, such as financial aid and student accounts, into a more central location for students to make them more accessible.

“Right now, services like financial aid, student accounts and advising they are all over campus in portland — we need to figure out how to consolidate one space,” said Quint. “We hear complaints that students don’t know where things are. So next year, when students come on campus, they will know that everything is located in one central space and it will make things easier for them.”

According to Quint, when these changes were first in discussion, the computer lab wasn’t even mentioned. The changes are being funded through money saved from the cost of heating in the recently evacuated white house that surround the portland campus.

“We didn’t go into this project with intentions of changing the computer lab – it just so happens there is a computer lab in there,” said Quint. “the reason is because we have to move it temporarily, at that point we decided to separate the computer lab into two locations.”

The beginning stages of construction started last week, with more to come at the beginning of October, as computers are starting to be moved out of the lab and into the third floor of the Glickman Library, where they will stay until construction is complete.

According to Quint, the point of these changes is to create a “one stop shopping center” for students for them to get all the questions they have answered in one convenient location.

Junior biology major Casey Fillmore explained that a lot of the changes going on throughout campus seem extremely unnecessary. He believes that doing renovation in a computer lab that is already being used by many students is an inconvenient choice.

“We’re sacrificing money on this project, but for what? Offices we already have in Payson Smith?” said Fillmore. “This is from the same administration that talks about our dire budget crisis’ and that we need to fix the problem. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Before renovations to the computer lab, both the student account offices and financial aid officers were in Payson Smith. The consolidation of these offices already exists, just in a different building.

Quint emphasized the importance of a one stop shopping center. A place where all the resources that a student would need are all conveniently place in one area.

“That’s a nice sentiment, but Payson Smith is right there – everything is in Payson smith that a student would need,” said Fillmore. “We’re a computer lab that is fully functioning, why change that?”

An anonymous faculty member at USM, who is fed up with USM’s ability to make good choices for a better campus, said It seems like they’re doing whatever they want and they could care less about faculty staff and students.

Even though the same number of computers will be available across campus and in a variety of locations, Fillmore explained that Glickman can not accommodate the amount of computers that Luther Bonney has.

Carol Sobczak, Assistant Director for Computer Services, explained that the same amount of IT help will be available to students, just the locations are changing.

“Some people are going to Gorham campus, some to the basement of Science Building and some of us will be placed on the 5th floor of Glickman,” said Sobczak. “As far as lab space, we have computers set up outside of Luther Bonney and we will have someone sitting there to help students if needed.”

Some staff members are more concerned with the time frame in which they have to completely move out before construction begins.

“When am I supposed to stop doing my job to pack my office? How do I continue doing my job? It’s getting down to the wire,” said an anonymous staff member in Luther Bonney. “The timing of this all is extremely inconvenient. We have two weeks to move everything around, and it’s stressing all of us out.”

While some believe that these changes are better for the university as a whole and these changes are in the best interest for the students, some do not agree.

“What makes me the angriest is that it’s in the shadow of a bunch of Professors being fired,” said Fillmore. “Quality teachers are more important than a ‘one-stop shopping center’. Whoever is calling the shots is making bad decisions.”

Other students believe that all these renovations will just simply be an inconvenience.

“I don’t like this at all because all of my business classes are in here in Luther Bonney,” said Laine Geistwalker, a senior business major. “It seems that the relocation of all these student services is, in turn, scattering the library services across this campus. This is all just so inconvenient.”

At all times of the day, you can always find students in the computer lab doing their assignments. Some may feel that students should have been asked before any changes were made.

“If they had talked to students first they’d find that this place is where most students go to study. It’s always full, even until 8:00 at night,” said Geistwalker. “They don’t need to be spending more money on relocating offices, especially when it takes away student accessibility during the semester.”

Chris Quint has made it clear that these renovations have nothing to do layoffs, faculty will just be relocated for a period of time and no one is losing their job, but that still doesn’t mean that everyone is happy with these changes.

“Every teacher is angry, every faculty member is angry – so far, no one has had anything positive to say about the changes taking place,” explained Fillmore. “This may be because I’m a student and they’re not afraid to talk to me.”

Quint said that his office will continue to send out emails to keep students up to date on the changes around campus, along with where faculty were relocated. President Cummings will also begin a weekly memo that sends to all students to fill them in on some campus updates.