By Kelly Sullivan
Students returning to Whatcom next fall may be surprised to find some big changes to campus.
SAL Move to Heiner
Perhaps one of the biggest changes will be the much anticipated move of the Student Access Lab from Cascade to lower Heiner Hall.
“I think it will be a pretty popular place for students,” said Brian Keeley, director of facilities.
Additionally, the coffee cart from Kulshan will be moved into Heiner to the right of the stairs on the lower level.
“It is a great step towards a learning commons,” said Ward Naf, IT director at Whatcom, who explained the new layout.
In addition to 29 new computers accessible to students, 20 laptops will be available for personal check out, with the exchange of their student ID cards. The new location will allow for future expansion if the move proves successful.
“It should eliminate—at least for a while—students having to wait in line,” said Linda Lambert, library director.
The new lab will consist of two rooms, one for individual usage with most of the computers, and the second for large groups. There will be a printer in both, as well as two staff members available for students at all hours of operation.
Naf hopes that more students will come to the IT department, and give feedback to what other features they would like to see in the lab in the future.
Students may also notice the new covered bike rack a little ways off the walkway in between Cascade and Kulshan. It is being created in memory of librarian, Denise Guren, who passed away two years ago from cancer.
Keeley said he had been getting requests for more bike parking around campus. Building a bike shelter to commemorate Guren, who was an avid biker, made sense.
Linda Lambert and the librarians who had become very close with Guren over the years wanted to do something to remember her.
The new shelter will house 16 bikes, have a roof and three walls, and will be illuminated at night.
This April, a memorial concert raised $1,700 to go towards the Denise Guren Memorial Fund. The fund was set up by the Whatcom librarians, which has so far raised about $7,600.
Something else students will find significant, if they haven’t already started scraping the bottoms of their pockets to compensate, will be the 7 percent tuition increase.
Trish Onion Whatcom’s, Vice President for Educational Services, explained in an e-mail, the Washington state deficit. The legislature decided to make cuts to community college and university budgets across the country. Last year Whatcom suffered a 1.2 million dollar cut, and this coming year will lose almost another million dollars of funding.
“Personally, I think it is very difficult for students to pay these increased tuition rates,” said Onion. She wished they would have looked at another way to balance the budget, but to see the bright side, she believes the increases will help serve the rising number of students attending Whatcom, by compensating for the costs of larger class numbers and providing for their resources.
Onion also noted that the applicants for financial aid doubled for fall.
Available at the Student Life office will be the new SmartCards. The cards are alternatives to the current student ID. They increase easy access around campus.
Naf and Ray White, Vice President for Administrative Services, are two directors working out what the cards will be able to do specifically, which will be decided within the next couple of weeks.
The cards will most likely include being able to purchase food from the different vending machines, coffee carts, and the cafeteria. It will also hopefully allow students to log onto the computers in Heiner.
The price of each card for students has not yet been determined.