Internet cafe set to open in spring

Renovations begin for new library facility

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

A planned Internet cafe on the Central Library's first floor will provide students with an attractive gathering place, administrators say.

"It will provide services students expect to be available at a university of this size," said John Hall, associate vice president for finance and operations.

Hall said administrators are making plans for the cafe, which will be on the south side of the first floor and occupy a space 110 feet by 60 feet. Construction is expected to begin during the break between the fall and spring semesters.

The cafe is expected to have 30 workstations with five to six computers each. Twenty-four existing double-decked carrels will be wired with laptop computers as well.

All the computers will have word processing and spreadsheet applications and a Web browser.

Carleen Dolan, Central Libraries' facilities and procurement manager, said it will take some pressure off of the computer lab in Ransom Hall.

She also said students can use the new cafe as a place to relax.

"We want it to be nice and comfy," she said. "A place where students really want to be."

The cafe will have a coffee bar, couches and chairs for students to lounge in.

A kiosk will be available for students to check out their university account balances and get general university information.

The library will also have a "New Book" display in the cafe so students can look at the latest books in the library.

The computers and servers in the cafe will be paid for by $300,000 out of a $1.5 million grant from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund. The TIF provides money through a charge, approved by the Legislature, on all phone bills. The fund provides money to local entities such as public schools, universities and junior colleges.

Burl Henderson, vice provost for computer and information technology, said that the cafe will be open to the public.

"One of the requirements of the TIF grant was to make the facilities of the UTA library available to the citizens of Texas," he said.

Unlike the computers in Ransom Hall, he said, anyone will be able to come in and use the facilities without university identification.

Other improvements, such as the furnishings and asbestos abatement, are being funded by the university. Asbestos must be taken out of the walls and ceiling tiles before construction can begin.

Brian Simms, environmental health and safety office assistant director, said plywood barriers will be put up around the sealed areas where the asbestos is being removed to protect students from exposure.

Renovations are being made now on the fourth and fifth floors of the library so that offices on the first floor can be taken out and moved upstairs to provide more room for the cafe.

Lonnie Snow, construction project coordinator, said the construction on the fourth and fifth floors should be completed by mid-November.

Sally Claunch


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