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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Library administrators envision expansion to help crowded ILC

    Undeclared freshman Brittany Newell text messages a friend while waiting for a computer in the ILC Tuesday morning.
    Undeclared freshman Brittany Newell text messages a friend while waiting for a computer in the ILC Tuesday morning.

    Students frustrated waiting to use computers at the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center are getting some quick fixes for now until funding arrives for a permanent solution.

    In August, the Space Committee approved fundraising for the North Campus Library project, located just south of East Speedway Boulevard between the Harvill and Civil Engineering buildings, said Robert Mitchell, associate dean of libraries.

    The four-story facility will devote one floor to an ILC-style technology suite and house specialized materials for engineering and business schools, sparing those students cross-campus commutes, Mitchell said.

    Drawings for the North Campus Library exist, but the anticipated $48 million funding for the project still has to materialize.

    “”We, the library, are actively cultivating donors,”” Mitchell said. “”I believe we are in the pipeline to get that done.””

    The ILC must deal with a computer crunch in the meantime, with roughly 300 computers available to about 37,000 students.

    To alleviate the problem, the library added more computers this semester to its laptop

    We, the library, are actively cultivating donors. I believe we are in the pipeline to get that done.

    – Robert Mitchell,
    associate dean of libraries

    loan program that started last year, said Dan Lee, undergraduate services team leader for the library.

    Thirty-six laptops were added this semester to the original 14 laptops, donated last year in an Associated Students of the University of Arizona effort.

    Amanda Stalvey, a natural resources junior, said she sat down to log onto her e-mail account after a 10-minute wait while four students lined up against the steel railing for their turns.

    “”Usually I give up after 15 minutes,”” Stalvey said. “”It’s like a lottery.””

    However, ILC student supervisors said the traffic jams are relatively minor – rarely costing students more than the time they’d spend in line at McDonald’s.

    “”During the weekdays, you won’t get a computer free, but I don’t think (the wait) ever goes beyond five to seven minutes,”” said Farhan Khan, an electrical engineering sophomore who works at the ILC help desk. “”I myself have never waited that long.””

    Despite the apparent 123-to-1 users-to-screen ratio in the ILC, recent surveys show between 80 and 90 percent of UA students own their own computers, Lee said.

    “”I hadn’t heard or seen any evidence that waiting times are different from before,”” Lee said. “”But I’m not out there on a daily basis.””

    Lee said he is aware of the difficulty in getting group study rooms. The abundance of groups perched outside study rooms, particularly on weekends, could eventually lead to remote scheduling of the library and ILC’s group spaces, he said.

    While more computing facilities make sense, land constraints on campus make it difficult to replicate the ILC environment, where students can gather around a single workstation and collaborate, Lee said.

    Meanwhile, the Main Library might consider replicating the third-floor computing stations on the fourth floor to help students hunting for open keyboards among the smaller clusters of workstations that are located throughout campus.

    “”Really though, that’s just kind of putting a Band-Aid on the problem,”” Mitchell said.

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