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Ronan Hall computer lab to close June 24

An online petition was created by students to keep Ronan Hall's computer lab open, which is set to close June 24.

With 47 computers, Ronan Lab serves as one of the two general usecomputing labs on Central Michigan University's campus. Once the lab is closed at the end of June, the space will be renovated to accommodate different student services offices on campus that will include 74 staff members and nine student employees, said Vice President of Facilities Management Steve Lawrence at the Finance and Facilities Board of Trustees committee meeting on Feb. 18.

An online petition was created by students on April 9 in response to the announcement of the lab closing. Since its creation, the petition has 405 signatures.

Communications Manager for the Office of Information Technology Kole Taylor said the lab staying open due to student concern is "pretty unlikely."

"We always want to consider what students have to say," Taylor said. "We've been seeing steady drops in use of computer labs on campus. We want to make sure we're investing in resources like PrintQ and Virtual Lab that are most beneficial to students."

On average, less than eight people an hour utilized the Ronan Lab during the spring semester, Taylor said. The usage in Ronan Lab was down almost 30 percent this year compared to last year.

"We’ve reached the point where our continued investment in the Ronan Lab is no longer justified," said Vice President for Information Technology Roger Rehm in a release on April 28. "The $60,000 annual cost (of running the lab) is needed to support technologies such as the Virtual Lab and wireless networking that require additional investment to reach levels of quality that students demand."

Rehm also gave the reason for the lab shutting down to provide office space in the lower level of Ronan Hall for student service offices.

Windows and heating systems will also be replaced in Ronan Hall, that hasn’t been updated in 62 years, Lawrence said.

“It’s not the most comfortable building on campus, let's just put it that way, so we want to make some improvements,” he said.

One of the offices moving to Ronan will be the Veterans Resource Center, which are located in Warriner 114.

The lower level of Ronan is over 15,000 square feet that will be renovated.

"As the summer progresses, I will personally review our options in this regard and this fall, we’ll launch another series of focus groups with students to see how things are going," Rehm said.


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Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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