In Luther Bonney, students meander around the atrium, some using computers that sit right outside the computer lab. Dusty footprints clutter the first floor, where construction that began in October is still in the works to be completed by the end of the semester.
The plan for improvements, implemented by the previous administration, is meant to consolidate space for students to access different kinds of help all at one location.
The changes currently in place are meant to consolidate student services, financial aid, admissions and other student resources necessary for academic success.
Currently, these services are spread out all over campus – offices like student accounts and financial aid services are currently located in Payson Smith but will be consolidated as a “one stop shopping center” for students.
“The construction has progressed a great deal over the winter break and we’re planning for the offices to be open inside by May 14,” said Nancy Griffin, vice president for enrollment management. “We anticipate the construction be done three quarters of the way through Spring, so once that occurs, the computers inside will immediately become available to students.”
In the beginning of the construction project, many students aired their negative feelings toward the changes taking place. With computers spread out in different building on campus, many were angered by the changes taking place.
“We’re sacrificing money on this project, but for what? Offices we already have in Payson Smith?” said Junior biology major Casey 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.”
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.
Laine Geistwalker, a senior business major, also felt the relocation was a huge inconvenience to her class schedule. Walking to different buildings, right now, makes it difficult for her schedule. Like many students, she isn’t upset about the end goal, but rather the construction that is going on during her senior year.
“I don’t like this at all because all of my business classes are in here in Luther Bonney,” said Geistwalker. “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.”
Carol Sobczak, Assistant Director for Computer Services, explained that the same amount of IT help will be available to students. The only thing that changed, she explained, was the computer locations.
“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.”
Other students who were using computers outside of the previous lab complained that the change was “inconvenient and unnecessary” but were unwilling to be interviewed on the subject matter.
However, Griffin stated that the feedback from students and the current administration thus far this semester has been positive and many students love having computers in Woodbury and Glickman to use.
“There will be extended the lab hours and wide open space for students. We’re excited to provide this new and improved outlet to everyone again,” she said.
According to Fillmore, it’s not the consolidation that matters, but the timing of the entire project itself.
“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?”
Griffin said that her office will continue to send out emails to keep students up to date on the changes around campus, along with where faculty have been relocated. President Cummings will also continue sending out his weekly newsletter to keep students informed about campus happenings throughout the semester.