TECH keeps crowds to one floor

Despite rumors, the TECH Center will not be expanding.

Finding a seat at a terminal in the TECH Center is like playing a game of musical chairs for Brian Meck.

Computer labs are packed with students on both Macs and PCs (Ashley Myers/TTN).

“Instead of walking around, I just try to stand in one spot and wait,” the senior English major said. “It is kind of frustrating. I wish we had more computers.”

The TECH Center is popular among students who need to print papers, edit videos or update Facebook statuses.

In December 2008, the TECH Center had 3 million visitors since it first opened in 2006.

On Dec. 8, 2008, it reached an all-time high for most visits in a day with 9,301 visitors.

This semester, Computer Services officials are looking at the changes in student traffic as they adjust to the influx of Tyler students and their needs for technical software.

“On one hand, with the Tyler students, we are going to have an increase [in student attendance], but we will also see a lowering because Alter Hall has opened up, and people are staying over there,” said Gerald Hinkle, director of computer lab management and operations.

Officials are experimenting with a crowd management system, in which electronic ears are placed around the building to measure noise levels over four-week periods. From data collected, they can determine what times are busier so more staff is present to assist students.

The ears will display green, yellow and red lights so students can see what noise levels are appropriate, with green lights representing acceptable noise levels and red lights denoting excessive levels.
“It is kind of a cool thing to look at,” Hinkle said. “It might raise people’s awareness that people are trying to study.”

Expansion past the second floor of the TECH Center is unlikely, as hardwires, phone lines and administrative offices on the third and fourth floors do not offer much available space, Hinkle said.
Instead, usage of terminals will be watched, and computers not used frequently will be swapped for popular equipment in order TECH Center.

“A lot of our choices on hardware are based on what software is needed by students,” Hinkle said.

Brian Dzenis can be reached at

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