The Bemidji State University Department of Information Technology Services celebrated the grand opening of a new 24-hour student computer lab on the lower level of Decker Hall at a Feb. 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The lab, conveniently located near residence halls and student support services, features 23 fully equipped computer workstations and provides access to color printers and charging stations for mobile devices. It also includes glassed-in rooms that students can use for small-group meetings or study sessions. Renovation of the space, furniture and computer equipment was financed through the BSU Student Technology Fee.
Surveys of students conducted over the past two years found a strong desire for 24/7 access to computers and software applications used in many courses. Students expressed a desire for a space they could use for studying and socializing, as well. The lab has comfortable seating, and students may bring in their own food and beverages.
“This is something highly desired by students,” said Dr. Faith C. Hensrud, BSU president. “They wanted to have a place where they could come and use computers and have access to do some work outside the hours of the library and that is much more accessible to the residence halls.”
Robb Carothers, a supervisor in BSU’s Information Technology Services office, said he and his staff are proud of the lab but know there is still work to be done — including giving it an official name. A name has yet to be chosen from more than 100 student suggestions submitted to the BSU Student Senate.
“I think it’s beautiful,” Carothers said. “We saw something come together that we are really proud of.”
Student Senate Vice President Josh Lively, a sophomore from Abington, Mass., majoring in political science, said the lab represents the best of what can happen when students and the university partner to turn an idea into reality.
“We are very grateful to have this nice, brand new lab,” Lively said. “This is a really great use of how our technology fees are being applied back to the students. It’s proof that the students and the administration can truly work together to bring something great to campus.”