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Cluster renovation to finish

Caitlyn Kalscheur | Thursday, January 28, 2010

 The computer cluster in LaFortune Student Center is undergoing renovations that will be completed Feb. 1, Brian Burchett, manager of Classroom and Cluster Services, said. 

Burchett said the cluster “needed a facelift.”
 “The finished project will be worth the wait,” Walker Anderson, Campus Technology chair for Student Senate, said. 
Burchett said the lab had become outdated.
“The lab was made about 20 years ago for a time when most students did not have their own computers. So, the main purpose of the cluster was to get as many machines in an area as possible,” he said.
Now with a majority of students owning their own laptops, the cluster’s purpose has shifted to an area for collaborative work, he said.
Due to this shift in demand, Burchett said the setup of the lab did not effectively use the space in the room.
Anderson and his committee decided to work with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Burchett to improve the cluster. 
While this plan has been in development for a couple of years, Anderson said the renovation was not funded until recently. 
“The University was trying to be fiscally conservative during the recession,” he said.
Burchett said the main goal is “reclaiming wasted space.”  
Anderson said the layout, lighting and furniture will be the biggest changes to the space.  Generally, the layout of the room will be altered with the removal of the service desk to create a more open setup for collaborative working.
A group room will also be added with a projector.  
Anderson said the number of accessible machines will not change but the desks and furniture will.  
Customized furniture will “create a hybrid workspace for both individual and collaborative learning environment,” he said. 
Another element of the renovation will be brighter lighting and new carpet to transform the basement-like atmosphere to a more comfortable one. 
While the target date for re-open is Feb. 1, all projects may not be 100 percent complete by that time.  
Students cite the LaFortune computer cluster as a key convenience on campus. 
Freshman Mike Stankiewicz said he hopes the project will “finish as quickly as possible.”