Computer lab renovations may be a bit upsetting


Taylor Pagan

DVC students passing the closed Computer Center on the first floor of the library.

Taylor Pagan, Online editor

Changes to Diablo Valley College computer laboratories stirred up both support and opposition.

The Computer Center’s previously large layout will be converted into three separate spaces to be utilized by individual classes and an open lab. Two more lecture rooms will also be added to the first floor of the library. During construction, a significant portion of the library quad will be fenced off, prohibiting merchant and student club activities.

Interim Vice President of finance and administration John Nahlen, who oversees all campus construction, said renovations are not scheduled to begin until early March and completion is anticipated for Fall 2015.

“The reason that the lab was closed at the start of the semester was to avoid a mid-semester disruption to students,” Nahlen said. “College administration felt that it would be easier on students to start and end the semester at the locations chosen for drop-in computer labs.”

The Computer Center has been temporarily relocated to Business and Foreign Language room 213.

Reprographics production coordinator Teresa Towers said, “All services for the student are the same, just in a different building.”

However, many students and faculty oppose the changes made. When the Digital Media Lab closed and permanently relocated last semester, many were outraged.

Broadcast communication major Laurel Clemons started an online petition in June 2014 against the closure and a “Protect the DVC Digital Media Lab” Facebook page. The online petition had a total of 157 signatures and the physical petition had over 450 signatures.

“The ‘new’ lab is such a joke in many ways,” Clemons said.

Services went from 59 hours per week to an average of 16, the number of computers available decreased significantly and a lack of Mac computers with specialty course programs directly affected art, digital media, broadcast production and film students.

Media Services Specialist Mark Bradley said via email that the remodeling development process planned in 2013 excluded most people and people in the programs directly using the lab were not consulted.

“Peter Garcia and John Nahlen seized and destroyed petition materials as ‘propaganda’ and threatened employees with ‘investigation’ into their participation,” he said. “Desks and work areas were searched and college email accessed for information.”

The new Computer Center’s open lab will also decrease in size from 118 computers to 50.

“Few employees (faculty and staff) will be frank about the situation out of concern for their self-interest,” Bradley said. “In my time here there have been the understandable ups and downs of an institution and its community but it was not until last year that I felt ashamed to work here and embarrassed for its other employees.”

Computer Center coordinator Jocelyn Iannucci, not involved in the petition, supports changes made to campus labs.

“It was a good choice,” she said. “I think we should be trying to move ahead. It can sometimes be hard to see what ahead even is.”

Iannucci said the Digital Media Lab was simply relocated. It was not abolished. She looks forward to the Computer Center renovations.

“I applaud that they are taking this on,” she said.