College IT works on consolidating resources

Posted by Julia Leef

The college is planning renovations to Scribner Library and Dana Science Center to create a more collaborative environment for students and faculty, and to facilitate studies and projects by combining technological and academic resources.

Plans are currently in the proposal stage.

The first set of planned renovations involves combining the four separate IT units in Bolton Hall, Harder Hall, the GIS Center and the Library into a single location in Scribner Library.

The renovations will facilitate more high-tech classrooms in Scribner Library, which will "better support the work of faculty and students and library staff," said Muriel Poston, acting vice-president for Academic Affairs.

"We anticipate having additional technology-enabled study and meeting spaces for use, capitalize on synergies between librarians and technologists as we explore emerging technology and information resources and allow the rest of the IT department to be closer to the IT Helpdesk, which has existed on the first floor of the Library for some time," Chief of Technology Justin Sipher said.

Sipher and Head Librarian Ruth Copans collaborated on the idea to combine the IT units and create more workspaces. "This is a partnership between administration and academic services," Poston said.

"The purpose behind this is multi-faceted, however it begins with the belief that together we can provide better service to the faculty and students of Skidmore College if our two organizations [the technology office and the library] are co-located," Sipher said.

Poston hopes the planning phase will be finished by the end of the semester.

The project proposal will be submitted through the Capital Project Planning Process, beginning with the President's Cabinet and Acting President Susan Kress who, together, will decide what within the project proposal will be carried out.

Sipher said that changes will most likely occur over several years in order to minimize disruption in Scribner Library during the academic year.

Renovations will also be made to Dana Science Center.

Poston said these renovations are aimed at enhancing science literature for students, strengthening the disciplinary and interdisciplinary structure to help science majors and analyzing the intersection of sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences at the college.

Poston said combining the equipment of various departments and creating an animal facility to house the rats and mice used in lab courses are examples of the ways in which these goals may be accomplished.

As of now there is no set plan for renovations to the building.

Poston attributed the premature plans to the Dana Science Center to the lack of knowledge about what changes are necessary to strengthen the science department.

Poston said students in the Life Sciences, Neuroscience, Human Physiology and Chemistry Departments all use similar equipment. These resources, however, are divided among the departments.

There are separate housing locations for rodents used in Neuroscience labs and those used in Biology labs.

Poston is working with Professor Mark Hofmann to combine these recourses.

The college has hired an outside consultant to determine what renovations need to be done to both buildings in order to promote the sharing of resources.

"We have great hopes that we'll be able to move from program planning to design, which is the next step," Poston said.

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