By Jeremy Stitsworth/photo by Kipper Sinclair
Amarillo College will have a new computer lab placed under the Ware Student Commons. The lab, deemed the Underground, will be host to classrooms, collaborative spaces for students to study and of course computers.
Becky Burton, dean of academic outreach and support, says that while the Underground may not be open 24/7 right away it will feature extended hours to accommodate students who may not have access to internet or computers at home.
“That was the whole emphasis on this project,” Burton said. “If you get here early in the morning you will see some students in they’re cars or sitting on a bench to get access to wi-fi and during the winter that gets really cold.”
There will be many different amenities for student to take advantage of in the new computer lab. Shane Hepler, chief information officer, says there will be something everyone will be comfortable using in the Underground and a few extra things to be excited about as well.
“We’ll have computers that run on both Mac and Windows software,” Hepler said. “There will even be a kitchen area for you to heat up your lunch and classrooms that professors can book for classes when they need to do research and such.”
Burton says that one of the most exciting additions being brought with the Underground are two media rooms. “We’ll basically have plug and play,” she said. “Students or faculty can use the equipment we have and just plug in a flash drive or their phone and play music, videos, PowerPoints. The rooms will also have video cameras so you can record yourself.”
Dmitri Wells, a computer science major, says he’s excited to get a look at the Underground and to use the new software. “I want to see those media rooms. They sound cool,” he said. “The extended hours will be nice too because you can’t always go to the library to use the computers there,” Wells added.
Burton also says that with all the new technologies going into the Underground, the technology support center will also be relocating to the basement.
“We actually hope to use some students to help in this facility,” she said. “So, it brings a lot more than just computers and classrooms, it can also be a potential job and a great way to get your foot in the door.”