By Jessica Spencer

While the newest addition to Eastern’s campus is not officially open, students are getting the opportunity to reap its benefits for the last two weeks of classes.”We haven’t had an official grand opening of the Technology Commons, but we are using these last two weeks of class to do a test run and iron out some of the wrinkles,” said Charles Woolum, director of the Technology Commons.

Woolum has been associated with the facility since March, but he said the project has been ongoing for almost four years. The Technology Commons is located on the ground floor of the Powell building and provides students with a convenient area to escape to when needing to study, work on group projects or just hang out.

“There were several ideas of what this area should become, so to decide we sent out a survey to find out students’ opinions,” Woolum said. “From the survey, this is what we interpreted.”

At the entrance to the area, there is a central information desk where student workers are available to answer questions.

Behind the information desk is a full-service print shop known as the “Paper Jam,” where students can access copiers, lamination machines and poster makers, as well as several other paper-related machines.

“We want to give students an accessible, on-campus place to get items laminated or posters made,” Woolum said. “We also want to make these items as inexpensive as possible.” Woolum said students would receive a 20 percent discount on the items.

Students can also check out items such as laptops and digital cameras at the Paper Jam station.

The lounge offers students an atmosphere where they can go to do homework, group projects or just enjoy the free wireless Internet.

“We wanted to make this a place where groups could come and work,” Woolum said.

“And we want to make sure we have the tools available to students.”

The lounge also has screens that students can hook their laptops into for larger viewing, as well as a pull-down projection screen.

“In the future, I would like to see this area being used for movie and video game nights,” Woolum said.

Other rooms include a student meeting room, which will host conferences for organizations and clubs, and the Merging Technology Room that will house more technologically advanced classes. Both of these rooms are also equipped with projectors and pull-down screens.

“We want this room to hold classes where, for example, if a professor wants to conduct a random poll, he or she will get instantaneous results at the push of a button,” Woolum said.

And the space still has another room left to fill.

Woolum said comfort and convenience are the goals of the Technology Commons.

“While the location is unusual, we feel that it is a convenient and centralized location, and the university is looking into making the hallways leading to the Technology Commons more inviting,” Woolum said.

The lounge area and the computer lab are designed to be comfortable and are presented in a welcoming style not typical of most classrooms, he said.

“We hope the Technology Commons will become a relaxing place for students, groups, and faculty and staff to retreat to,” Woolum said.