Ribbon Cutting Marks Opening of McDermott Library’s New Smart Rooms
Although UT Dallas students have been enjoying the Eugene McDermott Library‘s new smart rooms since the start of the fall 2018 semester, the two new study spaces received an official grand opening recently as several University representatives and special guests key to the project’s success delivered brief remarks at a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
The smart rooms give students access to the most up-to-date technologies so they can collaborate with their classmates no matter what device or system they use. The upgrade of two of the library’s traditional study rooms into high-tech smart rooms is a result of a partnership between the McDermott Library, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Taurus Technologies, all of which were represented at the event.
“We are thrilled about the opening of our smart rooms and this new offering to our students. It’s been a long time coming,” Dean of the Eugene McDermott Library Dr. Ellen Safley said during the ceremony. “I want to thank our partners on this project – the Office of Information Technology and Taurus Technologies, as well as many members of the library staff – for helping us move this from the drawing board to reality. It takes a village to do a project this large.”
“The demand for these rooms has been quite overwhelming. I could book twice, maybe three times as many rooms as we have, so to be able to use these rooms in this capacity is great, and I think as more students use this equipment, they’re going to want all of the library’s study rooms to be equipped with the technology that is now in the smart rooms,” Safley said.
The Armadillo Room (2.512) on the second floor of the library and the Jalapeño Room (3.602) on the third floor give students a new place to engage on presentations and class projects. The share system allows wireless connections of laptops, tablets and smartphones for collaborating and saving files created during a session.
The old whiteboards in the rooms were replaced with 70-inch interactive displays that allow students to annotate with a digital whiteboard. The display in the Armadillo Room also has a camera, allowing students to record video and share files for class presentations.
“If we could do every single room this way, they would all be used and our students would all be very happy,” UT Dallas Vice President and Chief Information Officer Frank Feagans told the audience.
Although the project was challenging, said Feagans, key players from all sides, including his staff in OIT, the library IT staff, Taurus Technologies, the company that installed the equipment in the rooms, as well as Student Government officers, worked extremely well together to bring about the finished product.
“Between these partners, we worked hard together and got it done, and it’s working and it’s working well and it’s working right,” Feagans said. “I can’t say enough about this group, and I think it’s just the beginning of some really great things that we can do to help leverage technology to improve the student experience at UT Dallas.”
UT Dallas Student Government President Eric Chen rounded out remarks made during the ceremony by telling the audience that students see constant progress on campus as the University continues to add new facilities and embraces the latest trends and technologies such as the library’s new smart rooms.
“The former Student Government president and the students that have come before have formed a really strong relationship with the parties that have made this project happen, and we’ve been really happy to be a part of this project,” Chen said.
To reserve a study room, go to the library’s website. Room keys can be checked out at the Services Desk.