New center merges IT services and tech store

LEON SANTHAKUMAR/ PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR The new Technology Center occupies the former IT Service Center space in the basement of Garland Hall.

LEON SANTHAKUMAR/ PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
The new Technology Center occupies the former IT Service Center space in the basement of Garland Hall.

By CLAIRE FOX
For The News-Letter

The Johns Hopkins Technology Center in Garland Hall held its grand opening on Tuesday, now available to students for both technology support and retail.

The Center is a combination of the former Technology Store, which had been located in Krieger Hall for the past five years, and the former IT Service Center, which was located in the space that the new Technology Center now occupies. The new Center was created to supply students with a better technological service experience than both of its predecessors.

Graham Bouton, the director of IT Services for Homewood Student Affairs, is excited about the creation of the new student service center.

“The new space is about four times as large [as the previous space], but probably the most important aspect is that we’re able to combine and co-locate the student laptop and IT support function and the store, so instead of the Technology Store, now we’re the Technology Center,” Bouton said.

Up until last July, the Technology Store and IT Service Center were located in different buildings.

According to Technical Support Supervisor Bobby Byrd, problems arose as students were frequently sent to different locations for closely related yet slightly varying, technological needs.

Space and accessibility were also issues. The former IT Service Center was merely a kiosk; likewise, the Technology Store was located inside the computer lab in the Krieger Hall basement.

“Location was a big aspect. Krieger Hall is pretty off the beaten path, although in that space we were doing tremendous business,” Byrd said. “We are now right next to the J-Card Office and the foot traffic is just nonstop, which is great. Since we’ve moved, sales have been up quite a bit.”

The combination of the two technology services is not the only change to IT services on campus.

Along with other universal tech accessories like laptop cases, headphones and printers, the store has mainly sold Apple products since its founding in 2010. While the student distribution of laptops on campus leans more toward Macs, the Technology Center now plans to respond to the demands for more PC products by adding additional non-Apple merchandise.

“We will soon have Dell systems along with Windows Surfaces on-site available to buy or for demos,” Bouton said. “In the previous location, we really just didn’t have the room to provide adequate space for anything else. And now Bobby’s been able to work with procurement to get good pricing on those devices as well, so we will soon have a wider variety of options for students.”

The Technology Center’s IT services include laptop, hardware and warranty support as well as troubleshooting for wireless issues, email setup, virus removal and antivirus setup. Additionally, the center will provide students with loaner laptops if their laptop is under repair.

Discounted prices on products such as laptops or iPads are available to students along with other technology accessories including GoPros, USBs and laptop backpacks.

While the laptop and IT support team is comprised of a professional full-time staff, the customer support and retail areas are primarily run by student employees, including senior Billy Scola who has been working in the store for three years.

“It’s really fun working with Apple products, getting to work with people, talk with people. And now that we’re down here with IT, it’s even busier,” Scola said. “It’s also a lot more accessible. You have a lot more people come to this area of Garland than to the basement of Krieger.”

Despite having been open for business since the beginning of the school year, the staff of the

Technology Center set Sept. 22 as the date to officially open. The event was advertised by signs put up across campus and a raffle to win prizes like headphones or an iPad. Students wandered in and out of the center throughout the day. Many, such as freshman Oscar Larazza, were impressed by the new space.

“It gives a lot of variety that wasn’t on campus before,” Larazza said. “I’d definitely come back.”

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