TECH Center opens for business
Visitors to the new $17 million TECH Center, which opened quietly on Jan. 5 in advance of the return of students and faculty for the spring semester, will quickly discover it offers much more than computers.
Designed to position Temple as a premier technology institution, the TECH (Technology, Education, Collaboration and Help) Center boasts 24-hour accessibility to state-of-the art technology, 13 breakout rooms for collaborative learning and study, six specialty labs, an Internet lounge, multiple laser printing stations, the Computer Services Help Desk, and wireless access throughout the facility.
It is believed to be the largest computer technology center of its kind in the nation.
“We see this as becoming the academic and social hub of the campus,” said Timothy O’Rourke, vice president of computer and information services. “With the dramatic growth of the residential student population on and around the Main Campus, the need for the resources offered by the TECH Center was apparent.”
Located in the former Bell Building at 12th Street and Montgomery Avenue, the 75,000-square-foot center will also house the University’s Welcome Center, the TLC and instructional support center, the student-run radio station and a Starbucks.
Other amenities: the convenience of additional built-in electrical outlets at computer workstations for charging cell phones and iPods, and vending machines that dispense headsets, computer supplies and even toothbrush kits for the late-night study crowd.
“The resources offered here address the needs of Temple students academically, technologically and socially,” noted Sheri Stahler, associate vice president for computer services. “Students will have 24-hour access to computers, technical support and dedicated space for collaborative work and group study.”
Six color-coded computer lab areas on the second floor offer both PC and Macintosh workstations, with some areas clustered to accommodate group work. In all, there are 600 fixed computers and an additional 100 laptops available for student use.
Twelve-channel cable TV to the desktop provides fingertip access to instant study breaks. Through an arrangement with Dell and Napster, students will have access to a 1.5-million-song library.
Six specialty labs feature 25 high end computers equipped with dedicated software for video editing, music composing, CAD/graphics and other specialized programs.
“Previously, these programs were available only in the computer lab of a particular school or college, and access was limited by the hours those labs were open,” Stahler said. “Now, students will enjoy uninterrupted access to the academic resources they need.”
In addition to conveniently located laser printing stations, a print operations center will offer high-speed laser, color printing and plotters.
The Faculty Wing on the first floor includes the Instructional Support Center, the Teaching and Learning Center, a presentation room, a breakout room and a faculty lounge.
Now a 24-hour operation, the relocated Computer Services Help Desk has increased the size of its staff and provides technological support to the Temple community on a walk-in or call-in basis, as well as via e-mail and online chat.
“The TECH Center reflects the dynamic changes in how 21st-century students are using computers and learning collaboratively,” O’Rourke said. “And most importantly, it has the flexibility to respond to ongoing change quickly, efficiently and inexpensively.”
- By Harriet Goodheart
Take a virtual tour of the TECH Center: http://techcenter.temple.edu/tcpreview.htm.