By Stevi Breshears:
A proposed change could help students who rely on Amarillo College computer labs. Currently, the Amarillo College Academic Computing center is open until 8:50 p.m. at the latest, and that’s only Monday through Thursday. There are other computer labs on campus, but they also close when the campus shuts down for the night. For students who work late or have other obligations and rely on the campus computer labs and Wi-Fi to do their work, this poses a problem and puts them at risk.
A newly proposed project could change this. While the project is still in the proposal stage, Dr. Tamara Clunis, AC’s vice president of academic affairs, said she hopes that by the fall of 2018, a new computer lab will be under construction in the basement of the Ware Student Commons.
“My dream is to give students more access,” Clunis said.
The proposal would provide a larger lab on campus that would stay open later for students. To do this, some of the computer labs that are used infrequently would be moved to the basement of Ware. “We don’t want to take labs away, but there are redundancies,” Clunis said.
The lab would be composed of six or seven labs that instructors could reserve for classes, but also an open lab space that students could use anytime.
“I want the students to be on campus and have the resources they need,” Clunis said. “We’ve had students in the parking lot at night trying to use the Wi-Fi. We want them to be safe in the building.”
The proposed lab would be open until midnight, even on Sundays.
Clunis pointed out that it would be less expensive for the college to heat and cool one building for a lab instead of several. The combination of some smaller, lesser used computer labs would also free up class space and allow for more courses to be offered on campus. Clunis’s main concern is that the student’s needs are met.
“I’m serious about listening to the students,” Clunis said, noting that anyone with ideas or advice on how to improve the project can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students said they are also excited about the proposal.
“I think it would be beneficial for some students,” Education Major Hayley Ingram said.
The lab would provide more options for a variety of student study schedules.
“I think an open computer lab would be a great idea for those who can’t come during the normal hours,”
Nursing Major Kelcie Kuehler said. “I will be starting the nursing program soon and it would open up new options for me on a more strict schedule.”