Westrn Oregon University unveils state-of-the-art computer lab

MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon University unveiled a state-of-the-art computer lab last week -- the final step in a technology overhaul on campus that started last summer.

The facility in the Academic Programs Building features 88 computer workstations with Macs, PCs, and Thin Clients, as well as a high-speed ethernet switch and several laser printers.

The lab and its equipment cost $200,000 and was paid for with student fees and capital improvement dollars within the school's general fund.

"You have to go a long way to find this type of lab in one single location with this kind of quality equipment and this type of performance," computing services director Bill Kernan said.

"We have both leading-edge technology and a leading-edge infrastructure. So this lab is really an amazing facility for the students."

Western now has 400 computers available for use by students and the public, with nearly half of them less than a year old.

Kernan said the college tries to upgrade its systems every three years, as opposed to the five-year standard held by similarly-sized institutions.

"When you go into a classroom, most instructors are using software that's cutting edge," he said. "We need to keep our hardware at that same level."

Western has 15 computer labs and 14 "Smart" classrooms, which are wired for Internet and include ceiling-mounted projectors and surround sound for multimedia presentations.

Four more of the "Smart" classrooms are scheduled for installation this spring.

Western also has multimedia labs across its campus, highlighted by the Instructional Technology Center lab, where students can produce films and videos using professional-grade editing software. The school also purchased 20 digital video camcorders as part of the upgrade.


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