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.”