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  • Brian Freiberger

Roznowski Learning Commons makes its debut with rave reviews from students

Photo by Miranda Mors

Olivet College’s Burrage Library received a major face-lift over the summer with the new addition of the Roznowski Learning Commons, located beneath the library’s main floor.

A place once used for storage of old tables, chairs and cabinets, the learning commons is now a place for students to sit down and study, have a meeting with a group of people, grab a cup of coffee or a snack from the recently reopened café and catch a newer film in the movie theater.

The Information Technology Service (ITS) department also moved from their old location in the Criminal Justice Building to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility inside the Learning Commons.

Open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., the Roznowski Learning Commons offers five meeting rooms to study in or share a presentation, a massive lobby with an adequate amount of space for activities and houses both the Cyber Café, open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. – specializing in hot beverages and assorted snacks – and the Kula Samba Theatre, which hosts recently released movies nearly every night of the week.

The recent renovations have been welcomed with open arms by students like senior Lauren Easton, who has enjoyed the noticeable difference in the building’s atmosphere as a result of the library’s face-lift.

“I like the colors, (and) it is a lot more welcoming than what it used to be,” Easton said.

For others, like freshman Walker Willis, the library has now become a hotspot for productivity or simply relaxing with peers.

“I think the quietness and the opportunity to do your homework is my favorite part about the Roznowski Learning Commons. Plus, the Wi-Fi signal is much better in the learning commons than anywhere else. The movie theater is also a nice added touch to sit back and relax,” Walker said, adding that he wished the Cyber Café would remain open longer because “students tend to study later into the night.”

Now housed inside the new Roznowski Learning Commons, ITS can be directly accessed by any student, after having transitioned from the Criminal Justice Building into the learning commons over the summer, with weekday hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Since the start of the academic school year, ITS has been working on many internal and external issues to improve the quality of technology for student, staff and faculty, including the upgrading of the wireless internet across campus – by filling in areas on campus with Wi-Fi that previously did not have a connection before and improving the bandwidth of internet and server connections – and replacing old technology through removing computers older than five years with faster, efficient computers campus-wide.

According to ITS specialist Cameron Lake, one of the biggest issues ITS has dealt with is the ratio between employees, students and computers.

“…The biggest issue is currently staffing. The four of us in the department are looking at around a 350:1 end-user (staff, faculty and students)-to-IT-staff ratio and around a 100:1 computer-to-IT-staff ratio. Most IT departments top out at around a 100:1 end-user-to-IT-staff and a 60:1 computer-to-IT-staff ratio,” Lake said.

Despite having low staff numbers this semester, ITS has still worked efficiently to implement improvements to the Wi-Fi connection at the college. Though the campus experienced brief internet outages as upgrades were being made to the current system, Lake explained that the extensive process they underwent will now allow the college community to experience less technical difficulties.

“Wi-Fi is a very finicky thing. To start, we had a company come in and do what’s called a site-survey. Essentially, they go around to every part of campus and figure out where we need to place our wireless access points (APs) to provide the best coverage, but without the APs interfering with one another. We then followed this survey and installed new and updated APs in these locations, running new connections if need be. In theory, this should be the end of it,” Lake said.

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