Students suggest 24/7 lab space at AC

Students with difficult schedules might not be able to find a place to study on campus that has computer access during late night and/or weekends.

Students with difficult schedules might not be able to find a place to study on campus that has computer access during late night and/or weekends.
Students with difficult schedules might not be able to find a place to study on campus that has computer access during late night and/or weekends.

Amarillo College students have suggested the idea of extending tutoring and hands-on labs to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The scenario has pros and cons like any new idea, but some students and staff share their opinions on the possibility of 27/7 access at Students in all lab-requiring classes know that lab hours are limited and aren’t always easily accessible. It can put students in a bind if they occasionally cannot make it to scheduled lab hours. “I would like to do my labs on my own time,” said Otto Beyer, a physical therapy major. “I have missed a lab before, and I had to schedule a weird time to make it up.” Many colleges maintain 24/7 lab hours to allow students to access lab equipment when they have time outside classes and work. “It is not completely unheard of,” said Bob Austin, vice president of student affairs, “but it would be a big change for Amarillo College.” Austin said he thinks the challenge with extending lab hours overnight is managing the space and safety of the students. “I can’t imagine a scenario where we would just leave a space open and not have a college official that is responsible for managing that space,” he said.Some people may not have the equipment necessary outside school. “Most people don’t have access to a good color printer, and certainly not to high quality software or editing equipment stuff,” Austin said. “So if we could find a way to have equipment available for students to use in one space, that would probably be the most manageable situation.” Beyer said he doesn’t have access to the equipment he needs to complete his labs at home. He can get his work done only on campus. “While it would be helpful to be able to do my labs when I want,” Beyer said, “it would be hard if I had questions for my professor and he wasn’t there at that time.” The idea to have 24/7 lab hours has been discussed before. “I think the Ware Student Commons would be a logical location for that, especially after the renovations for that are complete,” Austin said. “A perfect situation would be to have a campus wide technology center where students would be able to have access 24 hours a day.” Austin said if that were to happen, it is down the road. He said it is a reasonable and possible scenario for AC, but not yet.

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