Construction underway


By MARISSA RIVERA, Staff Reporter |

Where is the best and biggest computer lab on the Washington Street Campus? Starting fall 2019, the answer to the question of “Where” will be “Ware.” Construction is underway on a new computer lab in the basement of the Ware Student Center. 

The total cost for this project is around $2.1 million, according to Steve Smith, vice president of business affairs.

The money comes from the general budget and reserve funds and will pay for the remodeling of the basement along with new computers, software programs and furniture. The lab will house new Apple and Windows computers equipped with the appropriate programs for the classes at AC.

“It is a pretty decent mix, with 20 to 30 macs and close to 40 to 100 window computers available down there,” Shane Hepler, chief information officer, said. 

Hepler was a part of the lab design process. He said the way the lab is designed will encourage students to collaborate. There will also be rooms for faculty to reserve for classes, changeable rooms for guest speakers or competitions and rooms for students to record videos with new equipment. 

“I think that Amarillo College is doing its best to maintain a very proactive and beneficial program,” Kendra Jenkins, a mass media major, said.

Jenkins said she recalls numerous times she has been unable to complete audio editing projects because she arrived after the mass media labs had closed.

“A 24/7 facility would benefit all of us because a lot of the editing programs we use are expensive and provided by AC, so we depend on the labs,” Jenkins said.

According to Smith, student usage of the new lab will determine the hours of operation.

  “It could be up to a 24-hour lab, but to start out it might close at 10 or 11 at night. If there is a lot of demand, we will extend it,” Smith said. 

Smith said he is looking into new student ID cards with magnetic strips to give students access to the lab after hours if AC decides to open the lab 24-hours. There will also be a lift available to give students with disabilities outside access to the labs through the side entrances. 

The lab could open up new student work opportunities, since students may be hired to staff the lab and help with computer equipment.

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