Students returning to campus next month can cross routers and ethernet cords off of their packing lists: the college is installing wireless internet service in student residences.
Information Technology Services and Media Services are working on wifi installation in Benzing Residence, Simpson Residence, Niedfeldt Residence, Koon Residence, Whitley Residence, and the Dow House.
“We estimate that by the end of this week everything but Simpson will be complete,” said Patrick Chartrand, a network systems manager in ITS. “We are waiting for construction to finish in Simpson, before we can install our access points.”
Installation cost between $12,000 and $20,000 per dorm – a total of approximately $113,000.
“It was a significant investment,” said Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé.
The decision to install wifi was made when the college’s senior staff members met in June. Installation commenced shortly afterward.
“Installing wireless in the residence halls has been on the college’s ‘wish list’ for several years,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Diane Philipp. “We have asked students in the past what they need most in their residence halls, and wireless internet service typically landed towards the top of the list.”
Since Simpson was already undergoing major renovation this summer, the administration decided it was time for the update.
“We were going to put wireless in that dorm and we thought it would be best to spend the money on all the dorms if we could get it done in time,” said Péwé.
Scott Pienta, a media production specialist in the Audio Visual Department, headed up the installation process with Chartrand.
“It was a tremendous amount of work to get done in-house,” said Péwé, “but by doing it in-house it kept the cost down and we could go as fast as we needed.”
Media Services hired several temporary employees to complete the project, and summer student workers from ITS pitched in as well. Employees often put in 12-hour workdays to finish the job.
Students are eagerly anticipating dorm life without ethernet cables, router troubles, and constant needs for ITS visits.
“I am definitely excited that I will not have to answer any questions about setting up routers or when the tech people will be available to help,” said junior Anna Talcott, who served as an RA in Benzing last year. “I also will not miss stringing long Ethernet cords around my room.”