Parsons Lab closure

In Spring 2009, when we first got groups of students, faculty and staff together to discuss the renovation of the Parsons computer labs, we did not imagine that one day the result would be the Learning Studio in Sprague.  We’ve received tremendously good feedback about the Learning Studio and we are looking forward to implementing some of your suggestions over the summer.

One part of the 2010 agreement that resulted in our obtaining most of the first floor of Sprague for the Learning Studio was that a different use would be made of the Parsons lab space. Fast forward to today and we have work on a new building scheduled to start in August.  When Thomas-Garrett is torn down there’ll be a pressing need for temporary classroom space.  So the old Mac and PC labs in Parsons will be dedicated to classroom space.

CIS staff (Elizabeth Hodas, Calvin Tong and Andy Davenport) discussed this with ASHMC earlier in the Spring semester, and we’ve received feedback from some students that expressed some concerns:

  • fewer computers available in total
  • laptops are not as good as desktops for some kinds of work and definitely not as good for gaming
  • the dual monitors and furniture layout in Parsons are very conducive to group work

After discussing this with the students, with David Dower (AVP for Planning and Construction) and with the Presidents Cabinet, we have formulated the following plan:

  • We will ensure that there are dual monitors in the LAC lab.
  • We will move some Windows PCs (with regular keyboards and mice, and dual monitors) into the Learning Studio.
  • We will make laptops more readily available in the Learning Studio and possibly in the LAC (in total, there are far more computers available now than there were when we just had the two Parsons labs).
  • To cover end of semester peaks in usage, we will make more laptops available during the run up to finals.
  • We remind you that the furniture in the Learning Studio is designed to be moved around, so you can arrange it however you like to support your work.

We hope that these plans will allow students to continue enjoying academic work and gaming in the Learning Studio. We would also be delighted to place computers in the Platt Living Room too, if students want that.  Just keep giving us feedback about the labs and what works or doesn’t work.

I want to thank Ben Freeland ’11 for bringing some of the concerns to my attention.



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