The Computer Lab on the first floor of Robert Frost. (image credit: Rebecca LeBoeuf / Emma Sheehan)

This article was originally posted in the SNHU Observer (Volume VIII, Issue 6) on March 7, 2002:

Over the past couple of months people have marveled at the new building’s design. There is far more than meets the eye. In an effort to find out what Robert Frost Hall was made of technologically, this reporter set out to get some information about what goes on behind the scenes. What this reporter found was impressive computer labs, classrooms, common areas, labs and the elusive new Trade Room. Every day, hundreds of students pass by these technological wonders, but perhaps not realize what they contain.

Dr. Stephanie Collins, assistant professor of information technology, was contacted because of her knowledge about the computer labs. While some students around campus thought there was only one computer lab, there are four. There is the common computer lab open for public use on the first floor and three labs on the third floor, restricted to information technology majors. The three labs are specialized for a specific area dealing with computers. In the Internet Lab, students work on setting up web pages and publish works to the Internet. Next there is the Network Lab, where students learn the basics of building elaborate networks from scratch. Students are able to physically take apart computers to add or remove components and see how the inside of the computer really works. The third facility is the Programming Lab, where students learn to write their own programs using such software and Visual Basic and C++. In all these labs, students will learn the ins and the outs of databases and operating systems. The use of these labs also opens a whole new world in education outside the university. The information technology department is working to receive a grant to fund the training of people in high schools in the use of computers. The program is for teachers and computer administrators in schools that are put into positions that could use more training for.

The Observer did not stop there. To find out more, this reporter contacted Aaron Flint, manager of instructional support, who knew everything there is to know about the wired classrooms. According to him, the main computer lab now has 40 Pentium computers that are available for use from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily. The Jadda Science Lab on the second floor is wired for Internet access at the countertops and has 15 brand-new laptops for student use during class. Every classroom is Internet ready for both the students with their laptops and for the instructors. Last, all of the common areas that include hallways and lounges have Internet ports for students with laptops. Flint commented on the technological status of Robert Frost Hall: “When it was built, the intent was to provide students with a broad range of technologies as well as plenty of Internet access throughout the building. While we still have some projects to finish up, most of the classrooms are fully functioning.”

In meeting with Professor David Fehr, director for financial students, this reporter learned of the last element of technology in the new building: The Trade Room on the first floor. The room is impressive. With one entire wall made of glass, the Trade Room takes up 1,850 square-feet. There are custom-made wooden stations for students to sit at. There are 30 computers and one at the teacher’s podium. Each computer comes complete with two flat-screen monitors. As students look up from their station, there will be an electronic ticker taper that will scroll financial information, such as about stocks similar to a real Wall Street setting. In addition, there will be a large “data wallboard” that will display current events and news. On the side of this large room, there is a smaller version of the room that houses six stations for on-going financial studies. This way, classes may commence in the Trade Room, while students can remain up-to-date in the smaller room. This room is not limited to students majoring in finance. There are plans to make it available to many programs, as it will have uses for hospitality, business and liberal arts majors. It is also being considered for the freshman experience seminar to teach first-year students about basic financial matters such as managing credit cards. Like the computer labs, the Trade Room will be made available to teach people in high schools financial skills.

With the completion of its construction this semester, the Trade Room awaits one piece of equipment to make the room fully operational. Look for the new technology of this room to be fully completed for the fall semester.