By the time new students arrive in Fall 2000, four residence halls will be wired so that every resident will have a port to connect to the Universitys ResNet system. Quadrangle has been wired for two years, and Mayflower, Daum, and Hillcrest are on schedule to be completed by fall.
Close behind these four, all the rest of the residence halls will be rewired. Its hoped that the project can be completed by Spring 2001.
"We will be doing all this work while the residence halls are occupied," says Maggie Van Oel, director of Residence Services. "Thats difficult. We have to schedule construction work so that students wont be disturbed too early or too late in the day, and theres a considerable amount of extra work while the construction is going on.
"Its a lengthy and involved process, and we are moving as quickly as possible to get it done," Van Oel says.
Students Are Changing
A few years ago, University efforts to increase the numbers of computers available to undergraduates were somewhat controversial. Few undergraduates used computers for academic research, preferring to visit computer labs only to check e-mail or to type a term paper. Would it be necessary to rewire all the residence halls, some argued, when students might not ever use the wiring?
Even three years ago, when growing demand for computer time made campus computer laboratories too crowded, the Parents Association put in e-mail terminals in the Iowa Memorial to alleviate the condition. However, many students still enjoyed computers more for games than for study.
When Residence Services first rewired Quadrangle Residence Hall, the percentage of students who elected to use the new service was relatively low.
Now, however, demand is very high. Students have said that this is definitely a project they want their room and board dollars to pay for.
"Our plan is to rewire the halls as fast as we can," Van Oel says, "which means the majority of the project will take place during the academic year, while our rooms are occupied."
Other Renovations Under Way
The new wiring is only one project under way in Iowas residence halls. A major renovation of Mayflower Hall, Iowas largest residence, was finished in November. Reconstruction of Hillcrest Halls entryway, dining facilities, and other areas is under way. Next summer, new windows and air conditioning will be installed in another Hillcrest section. By semester break next year, an elevator will be ready.
Future projects are planned in Currier and Quadrangle halls.
While the Hillcrest reconstruction has been going on, all west side residents have eaten at Quadrangle.