The Bell Center for Technology had a busy summer, receiving all new furniture in the lobby and student seating areas as well as a complete renovation of one of its prominent classrooms.
The student seating upgrades include new tables and chairs outside the Fortinsky Auditorium along with three pieces of lounge furniture and a table with electrical outlets for laptops. Downstairs, several tables, chairs and couches were replaced outside the T-14 classroom.
"For our engineering and IST students, virtually all of their classes are located in the Technology Center," explained Director of Student Affairs, Kathie Flanagan-Herstek. "There was a strong interest in significantly improving the outside-of-classroom seating areas where students would socialize as well as collaborate on academic projects. The request to fund this improvement utilized student facility fees and as a result students were the primary designers of this much-enhanced space."
The T-23 computer classroom received the full treatment: new furniture, carpet paint, energy-efficient lighting, height adjustable desks and chairs, a document camera, dual projection screens capable of displaying separate content, sound system with assisted listening devices, and a SMART podium where instructors can write on the monitor to display the screen. The room also received a high-definition Polycom video conference system which will allow the sharing of computer classes with other Penn State campuses. Funding for the T-23 renovations came from Penn State Wilkes-Barre Academic Affairs, Student Information Technology Fee funds, and a Penn State University Committee on Instructional Facilities (UCIF) grant.
"The improvements to T-23 provide a more comfortable and pleasant teaching and learning environment. These improvements will have an extremely positive impact on the quality of instruction our faculty delivers," stated Director of Information Technology Services, Caroline Chronowski. "The new height adjustable furniture and assistive listening technology will support this classroom in being more accessible to students with disabilities. The addition of dual 16:9 ratio screens, moving the technology podium to the center of the room, and the removal of floor to ceiling columns will allow an unobstructed view of the instructor and projection screens. A conference table at the front of the room can be used for student collaboration. Adding additional video conference capability to the campus through the T-23 renovation will allow us to broadcast and share classes regionally with other Penn State campuses. This is critical as we are adding new degree programs this fall that will utilize these new resources."