Board of Trustees approves campus tech plan

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

The Board of Trustees approved an $820,081.62 plan to upgrade campus technology, a 1.5 percent fee increase for the Room and Board Fee and Grant-in-Aid Fee, modifications for the WEIU Tower and three new majors.

Campus Technology

The approved proposal includes the purchase of 200 virtual clients that will be compatible with virtual desktops and machines as well as an upgrade to computer equipment for 54 classrooms.

Paul McCann, the interim vice president of business affairs, said the overall cost for the project, with a 5 percent contingency, is $820,081.92 and this is the second phase of an extensive technology refresh plan for the university.

McCann said since the Vitalization Project the university has been looking at improving information technology operations on campus.

“We have started updating equipment about a year ago, where we replaced the servers in the data center (ITS) and that was the initial part of our overall re-tooling of our IT structure on campus,” McCann said. “That part of the project was about $700,000.”

He said the second phase of the project will be about a nine-year project and includes updating classroom equipment such as the projectors, 312 lab computers and about 200 computers (virtual clients) that are compatible with virtual desktops for employees.

“We used to have laptops and desktops, now we’re moving to virtual desktops, which will provide a screen and a connection to those servers we bought last year,” McCann said.

He said the overall cost is “significantly less” than what the university would pay to replace outdated monitors and laptops.

The source of funds will be from local and revenue bonds, McCann said, with Housing and Dining contributing about $200,000.

When asked if the university was moving too fast or too slow in terms of the technology refresh, Eastern President David Glassman said the university is “on pace.”

He said there have been people pilot testing the new technology for about a year and with the purchase of 200 virtual clients, he said he hopes employees will volunteer to try the virtual machines, since the university has not been able to replace outdated computers or laptops.

Glassman said the purchase is also a way to test the technology and find what needs to be tweaked before moving the campus forward and implementing virtual machines all over campus.

He said the new machines should be safer since all the data is going directly to the new servers and is backed up everyday.

“This is the way that many other universities are going because it starts to standardize people’s computers so we can fix it easier, also the software becomes standardized,” Glassman said.

There will be exceptions regarding the plan for example, departments that require Apple computers such as graphic design or journalism will not receive virtual machines.

Fee Increases

The board approved a 1.5 percent Room and Board rate increase and a 1.5 percent increase for the Grant-in-Aid fee.

Lynette Drake, the vice president of student affairs, said both fee rates have increased together at the same time in the past.

Drake said the decision to increase the Room and Board rate represents a unanimous recommendation from the housing bond revenue committee.

The committee is made up of three students from the Student Senate and three students from the Residence Hall Association.

“No appropriated resources are used to operate university housing,” Drake said.

WEIU Tower Modifications

The Board also approved the modifications to the WEIU Tower.

McCann said these modifications are necessary to change the frequency of the WEIU channel from channel 50 to channel 30.

In connection with that, McCann said the height of the tower needs to be increased by 10 feet and there needs to be a new antenna placed on top of the tower.

McCann said this is all done in connection with the repackaging process that the Federal Communications Commission did about four years ago to make additional frequencies available to the cell phone providers.

This project will be paid for through grant funds.

Three New Majors

Three new majors were approved for the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology and the College of Health and Human Services.

They include:

1. FCS-Hospitality Management Option to become the Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism

2. FCS-Family Services Option to become the Bachelor of Science in Human Services Program Administration

3. FCS-Dietetics Option to become the Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].