The Bell Building at 12th and Montgomery streets is being transformed into a state-of-the-art technology center. The $17 million Teaching, Education, Collaboration and Help Center, or TECH Center, expected to be completed by January 2006, will allow 24-hour student access to 700 brand new computers, 60 of which will be in specialized labs with software for video editing, graphic design, music composition and software development.
“The whole purpose of this facility is to provide students with all of the software that they use in the classroom,” said Vice President of Computer Services Timothy O’Rourke.
A 24-hour Help Desk will replace the current Computer Services help desk in Wachman Hall, and a new Welcome Center will be located on the first floor of the TECH Center to host visits from prospective students and their families.
The construction of the TECH Center will create more space by consolidating existing computer labs into one building. Labs in Anderson and Wachman Halls will be used for classrooms, and the library will also have more space.
Even with the consolidation, there will be a net increase of about 400 computers on campus.
“We’re very proud of our technology position,” said O’Rourke, of Temple’s recent ranking by The Princeton Review as the fourth most connected campus in the nation. “We think that we offer just as much technology to our students as anyone in the country.”
According to O’Rourke, the center will be the largest of its kind in the nation for college students.
The TECH Center will also be a place for students to gather for group projects. Thirteen “breakout rooms” are designed with conference tables and projectors to let students practice presentations and perform other sorts of work in a complimentary environment.
When not working, students can relax in the various lounges and watch high-definition television or use loaner laptops with wireless internet access.
In planning and designing the center, Computer Services formed a committee of students, faculty and staff to decide what should be achieved by the project. Computer Services representatives also met with Temple Student Government, conducted surveys and visited other colleges’ computing facilities.
Offices for telecommunications, facilities planning, and housekeeping are now located in the building and will be moved up to the third and fourth floors to make way for the new project.
Andrew Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.