A new face for Matthews

Room 204 in Matthews Hall is being turned into a room to simulate an investment center. The room will feature two 46-inch LCD monitors and a stock ticker.

Room 204 in Matthews Hall is being turned into a room to simulate an investment center. The room will feature two 46-inch LCD monitors and a stock ticker.

Recently, Matthews Hall has undergone several renovations to make accommodations for new classes and new servers. The renovations have been to both rooms and the computer center. Some classes have had to be displaced during the construction, but when finished, students will return to modern facilities to help with their education.

Computer Center receives facelift

Taking on a new look, the computer center was renovated due to software changes.

“The reason we did the renovation in IS (information services) and computer center is because of the Banner project,” said Steve Earney, assistant vice president for information services.

During the Sept. 23 Board of Governors meeting, a $3.4 million contract was approved with SunGuard SCT Banner, a software company. Soon after the approval, the contract was signed. Earney said after the contract had been signed, the work on the computer center started.

As part of the renovations, an oracle database administrator had to be hired.

“We could either hire one at a reasonable rate including the perks,” Earney said, “or we could pay SunGuard SCT, the vendor, for oracle DBA support.”

Earney said it is either $130,000 or $180,000 a year for an oracle DBA through the vendor.

“It’s a lot more than a person costs,” he said. “They would only work for us when we had a problem so we might have used him 20 days in a year and pay him $130,000 or $180,000, and it just didn’t make sense to me to do that.”

Along with the oracle DBA, Earney said they also had to hire a programmer analyst, who has not yet been hired. He said there has to be one person for each of the modules.

“There are five modules we’re actually purchasing,” he said.

They have purchased modules for financial, HR/payroll, advancement, which is alumni and the Foundation, student, which is student records and financial aid. Earney said the financial aid module interfaces directly with the financial and student modules.

Earney said the University also hired Sandra Gieson as the Banner project manager.

As far as physical renovations to the computer center, 13 new servers have been added to support the new software.

“That took a lot of room there,” Earney said.

He said he moved into another office where the two network administrators were, and they moved into the offices where he and a programmer analyst had been. The student workers are now working where the conference room used to be. Where the help desk used to be, the new oracle DBA and senior systems analyst have offices there. The computer lab to the east of the help desk was also eliminated to make room for the DBAs.

Tim Dodge, facilities planner, said the lab was not used as much as other labs and the equipment in the lab was outdated anyway.

“It was pretty challenging to find enough room to put three more people,” Earney said.

He said the senior systems analyst would be the DBA’s backup in case there may be a problem with the software.

“That person is going to learn on the job DBA work,” Earney said.

Earney said Dr. Brad Kleindl, dean of the school of business, allowed the computer center to have one office on the third floor, which is Gieson’s office.

“He also gave us a room for a training lab,” Earney said.

The lab has 14 computers and a projection device.

“We agreed also to allow students to used that as an open lab anytime it is not being used for Banner training,” Earney said. “It added a new lab for the students to go to.”

Earney said starting in mid-December, Banner training will begin.

“We’ll probably be doing training three days out of five for the next year and a half,” he said.

He said it was a “win-win” situation.

“It was very gracious of Brad to allow us to have one office up there and a training room,” Earney said. “That was kind of unexpected.”

Dodge said he is also looking forward to the software because he is in a position which would benefit from the financial systems part of the program.

“I know the rest of the campus is looking forward to seeing the student records and other modules go online,” he said.

The Physical Plant did the renovations to the computer center.

“We’ve had lots of people step up and help,” Earney said.

Dodge said the Physical Plant immediately started making plans after the software improved and the computer center gave the word.

“We worked pretty much non-stop,” he said.

Matthews’ electrical power upped

Earney said they did not have enough power in the center.

“We had to increase the amount of electrical power and add 100 amps,” Dodge said.

Dodge also said the servers were placed on an uninterruptible power supply so the servers could be powered for an hour after an electrical outage in Matthews Hall.

He said the building was also reconfigured to a point.

“We worked on the main electrical power to the building in order to provide better grounding to the building, ” Dodge said.

Earney said the renovations are about 99 percent done, but they still need to put in partitions for the office spaces.

He said the renovations to the computer center have been inconvenient, but it has been great.

“It’s just something we needed to do,” Earney said.

Earney also said he had been in the same office for 24 and a half years before he moved into his new space.

“I like this office better now that I have moved,” he said. “It’s better for the network administrators.”

Earney said there will be a kickoff for the new software on Dec. 6-7.

Business department creates exchange room

With a growing need for employees who have experience in real-life situations, the department of business has worked to turn two rooms into one real-time investment center.

Matthews Hall Rooms 203 and 204 have been merged into one room and are going to be remodeled completely to include computers, televisions and desks, which will make the experience of working in a trade room more realistic to the students.

“It will give them the information to make informed decisions on securities and companies,” said Brian Nichols, assistant professor of business.

Nichols has been planning the creation of this room since spring 2005.

“We’re trying to give our students the opportunity to be competitive with students from larger schools,” he said.

The room will feature 32 computers at desks designed for investment centers. The students will also work around surround sound settings hooked up to one phone line to allow them to possibly talk to analysts during classroom experiences.

“It’s quite an involved project,” Dodge said. “It’s one of the most technologically-involved projects that we’ve done.”

Dodge helped design the layout for the electrical components and heating ducts. Most of the wiring had to be done through the floor and into the ceiling of the rooms below.

The work on the room has only occurred in the last few weeks because of a need to shuffle classes around while the work progresses.

“The theory is to have it done before the spring semester,” said Bob Harrington, director of the Physical Plant.

The project had one set back with a late carpet arrival. The carpet was for Room 319, which would hold the classes once held in Room 203.

“We think we can make it,” Harrington said.

Two windows will be placed on the outside of the room. Each window will have four panes for passer-bys to see inside.

Along the side of the room, where the entrance to Matthews Hall is, a 12-foot stock ticker will be placed above the new window. Six clocks will reside in the room showing the times at different major stock markets around the world.

The room will be one of the first thing prospective students will see when walking into the foyer.

“We’re looking for the shock-and-awe effect,” Dodge said.

The room will be used for business and accounting classes for the first semester, but a new class for portfolio management will take over the room in the fall. In this class, students will be broken up into teams to manage one portfolio of companies and securities.

“It will not be day trading,” Nichols said.

Nichols is looking into using real securities for the class and not fake portfolios.

Major work on the room will be completed over the semester break.

“We’re always up for a challenge,” Dodge said.