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Saturday, December 2, 2023


24-hour computer center relocates

The Central Site Computing Center – formerly the campus’ only 24-hour computer lab – has been relocated to the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library to give students improved services.

The transition from its previous location in the Graduate College of Social Work was undertaken to consolidate resources available to students into a more centralized location, Director of Academic Technologies for Technology Support Services Sara Baber said.

"Our primary concern is to be sure that we’re up and running with the same level of service that the students have always expected from us," Baber said.

Formerly located in Room 110 of the GCSW, the Central Site Computing Center re-opened Monday in Room 58 of the library basement as the Technology Commons.

Components of the Central Site Computing Center are still moving from the GCSW to the library, and the old lab will remain open for a few more weeks to ensure that students continue to have the services they need and are aware of the new location, Baber said.

The area vacated by the lab will be used as classroom and office space for the college, Graduate College of Social Work Associate Dean Paul Raffoul said.

"The short version of our renovations is to increase our classroom space (and have) additional office space for our college admission, alumni and career services programs," Raffoul said.

Entrance to the Technology Commons is located on the east side of the library, facing the University Center. There is no access to the commons through the library’s main entrance.

The commons features 150 Macintosh and personal computers that were moved from the Central Site. A service desk is available to answer technology-related questions, such as how to configure wireless Internet and how to establish CougarNet accounts.

The commons still operates 24-hours a day and will have laptops, digital cameras and MP3 recorders for students to check out for media projects, Baber said.

"We’ll probably bring these services up after a few weeks," she said. "We want to offer more at this new location. If they’re working on some kind of digital media project for one of their classes, we can help support those services too."

Computer kiosks will be added for students who need to check financial aid accounts, admissions status or view class schedules without logging in to CougarNet, which is required by the computers in the library.

The move also benefits students with its convenient and safer location, Baber said.

"I think students will really appreciate it because it will be a lot easier to park and come in, or go back out to your car in the middle of the night," Baber said. "I think people will appreciate that it’s in a more populated area of campus late at night."

Later this fall, staff members from the University Studies Division and the Scholars Community, two divisions of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Development and Retention, will also move to the library basement. These sections have been renamed the Undergraduate Scholars at UH and will have academic advising and a college success program for students.

"With all units being under one roof and under one name, this means that students will no longer have to go between buildings to take advantage of our services, and they will know that Undergraduate Scholars at UH is there to take care of their academic needs," Director of Academic Affairs for UADR Diana Velez said.

The increased territory will be able to feature more UADR academic advisors to assist students.

"The space is allowing us to increase the number of advisors available to students as well as make available, under one roof, the services of our College Success program for our first and second-year students," Velez said.

A library official said that the integration would allow students access to more streamlined services in one location.

"The library welcomes the moves of the University Studies Division and the Social Work computer lab to the basement," M.D. Anderson Memorial Library Office Coordinator Robert Pampell said. "We are excited about the opportunities that it will provide to the students as they pursue their educational goals."

For more information, contact the Technology Commons at (713) 743-1570. The University Studies Division can be reached at (713) 743-8982.

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