Pa. colleges getting wired

March 26, 1998|By DON AINES

Pa. colleges getting wired

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Resident hall fees at Shippensburg University will be higher next fall, but students get more than a bed and a desk for the price.

The per-semester fee will go up by $125 to $1,150 effective July 1, an increase approved in January by the university's Council of Trustees. By the end of this year, every dormitory room will be wired for a pair of high-speed computer connections and cable television, according to university spokesman Pete Gigliotti.

"We're responding to the demands of the students. More and more of them are bringing computers to school," Gigliotti said of the project to wire all of the approximately 1,200 dorm rooms for the 2,400 students living on campus.


"None are installed right now," Gigliotti said. He said the university is in the process of reviewing bids for the project.

The computer connections will go directly to the university's mainframe computer and give students access to the Internet from their rooms, he said.

"Obviously it's the technology everyone needs to know before they get out of college," Gigliotti said.

Dorm rooms at other area colleges are, or soon will be, wired.

"We started with one dorm two years ago and last year wired everything," said Beverly Vagnerini, chief information officer at the Mont Alto campus of Penn State University.

Vagnerini said about 150 of the dorm rooms have at least one computer. The residential capacity of the campus is 440 students.

Penn State Mont Alto offers laptop rental. Vagnerini said she rented out all 75 this year and has a waiting list. A new laptop goes for $350 a semester, while older models run about $200, she said.

Next year students living on any campus in the Penn State system will have to use network interface cards for their room computers. Some still use telephone modems, but Vagnerini said the university system wants modem access set aside for students living off-campus.

She said network cards cost between $25 and $150.

"It beats going to the computer lab and waiting in line," Vagnerini said.

Whether students live on or off campus, whether they have computers or not, Vagnerini said everyone that signs up for a Penn State class is assigned an e-mail account.

"Everybody is now getting e-mail addresses and they will be connecting with the Internet," Kathleen Simcox said of Wilson College's campus-wide networking project. An assistant in the Finance and Administration Office, she said the Chambersburg college is in the process of wiring individual rooms.

Wilson College has about 275 residential students, according to Kathy Clough, student accounts administrator.

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