Safety concerns and budget limitations are factors for current lab hours
By: SARAH DUIS
Students hoping to pull an all-nighter in a campus computer lab are out of luck—at least for now.
Despite previous announcements of 24-hour computer labs in the Education & Arts Building (including by IU President Michael McRobbie in his speech at the building’s dedication in April), there are currently no plans to make this a reality. According to Beverly Church, IT executive director for IU South Bend’s University Information Technology Services (UITS), there are several reasons the university has since decided not to pursue 24- hour labs.
One factor is student safety. She said there is concern about the security of buildings and their surrounding areas during overnight hours. “In order to protect these areas, additional security efforts, including locks and alarms, would need to be installed,” Church said.
Another factor behind the decision is cost. According to Church, it costs approximately $60,000 a year to staff the Education and Arts Student Technology Center (STC), which is 46% of the annual budget allocation for STC staffing.
“Due to safety concerns, there should probably be two consultants on duty during overnight hours, which would increase the cost even more,” Church said.
She added that the cost of 24/7 staffing would severely cut back the hours for daytime consultants, reducing support to the majority of students using labs.
According to Director of Facilities Management Michael Prater, increased wireless coverage, personal laptops and readily available high-speed internet have also contributed to computer lab hour decisions.
Keri Hare, student, said she thinks the campus needs at least one building open 24-hours, if not a computer lab.
“We are a college full of people with different work schedules as well as family life,” Hare said. “We need the availability to study on campus when possible.”
Student Adam Johnson has a different philosophy. He believes 24- hour computer labs would be a waste of time and resources.
“I know there are students who have very hectic schedules, but the need to organize and prioritize those schedules are key now and for their futures,” Johnson said. “I feel that the university could invest that time and money into something more beneficial.”
Currently, 24-hour lab access is provided each semester during the last three weeks of class, but turnout has been low.
“This was heavily advertised for the spring semester, and yet data collected for this time period shows low attendance, and the number of students present drastically declines after approximately 2 a.m.,” Church said.
From April 16 to April 30, 2013, an average of 80 students per day utilized open computer labs throughout campus between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. This number dropped dramatically between 12:30 and 7:30 a.m., with a daily average of only two students using the lab during late-night hours.
Though pulling an all-nighter at IUSB might not be an option right now, students hoping to work after dark still have some options.
The Schurz Library computer lab is open until 11:45 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. In Wiekamp, labs in rooms 1225 and 1205 are open until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Education and Arts Building lab in room 1109 is open until 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight Sundays.
For more information about campus technology visit http://www.iusb.edu/uits.