Plans for Grant South computer lab in motion


NIU students living in Grant South residence hall next year may see their own computer lab in their future.

The Residential Technology department under Housing and Dining, commonly referred to as ResTech, has been in talks to build a computer lab for the residence hall and will weigh its options before pursuing the project in full.

“It’s still a plan at this point,” said David LaBanc, director of Operations and Facilities for Housing and Dining. “I don’t believe there’s anything concrete about it, but we’re moving forward to making it happen, and we definitely want to get it done.”

The goal is to complete the project by the beginning of the fall semester.

The demand for a Grant South computer lab was discovered through surveys conducted by ResTech and usage reports coming from the computer lab in Grant North.

ResTech is also receiving the support of student groups such as the Residence Hall Association and the Student Association, both of which may provide funding to the project once a cost is calculated.

Kevin Smith, SA senator and Campus Activity Board president-elect, helped organize SA support for the project as chairperson of the Campus Life and Greek Affairs Committee.

Smith met with SA President Brent Keller on Monday to talk about Grant South’s need for a computer lab and said the meeting was a positive one.

“[Keller] said that the SA is very willing to help, and he said he’ll do whatever he can, and that as a former resident of Grant South, it was also a problem for him,” Smith said.

Residents of Grant South have had to rely on Grant North’s computer lab for the most convenient computer access.

But it is the late-night computer users of Grant South that are the most frustrated with the lack of their own lab because the underground tunnel that connects Grant North and Grant South closes at 11 p.m. for security purposes. This requires the students to exit the building and walk around the complex to the other side to access Grant North’s basement lab.

The prospect of Grant South providing its own computer lab has some students pleased with the idea.

“I think it’d be a great idea, and it would be a lot easier,” said sophomore history major Brian Peterson. “I thought it as a big burden to have to walk that far just to use the computer.”

Freshman biochemistry major Christopher Layman said the Grant North lab is not enough to provide computer access to all Grant students.

“It needs to be done because the one in North is too small for four towers to use just one room, especially when half the computers don’t work too.”