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FHSU shows off renovated center

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Traffic has picked up in the newly renovated Instructional Resource Center for students in the Fort Hays State University College of Education and Institute of Applied Technology.

The IRC first opened in the 1980s as an offshoot of Forsyth Library, said Lance Gerstner, the center's director.

Much of the remodeling that reconfigured the space took place during the summer, but the final pieces of technology such as the Promethean Board in the new conference room recently were installed.

Some of the former space was turned into offices, and the remainder is used more effectively, he said.

"We're excited it's being used more," Gerstner said. "Students like the configuration."

Having windows to the passageway make the center visible to passing students and has helped draw students, he said.

Besides the usual computer bars and tables and chairs for studying, there's comfortable seating in the main study center. The conference room includes a long table and chairs besides the interactive board.

At least one class and several study groups use the conference room regularly.

Robert Hollerich, a junior planning to teach chemistry, uses the study center "four or five times a week between classes and to take quizzes."

Students can bring their own laptops or use the PCs and Macs available, Gerstner said.

IRC also has five staff members who rotate duty and can answer questions about technology. Gerstner said it's been a learn-as-you-go process for the student staff. They also direct students to faculty when they need help with content.

"It's very easy to come down here and get things printed off, uploaded on the computer, (and) get things ready for lesson plans," said Brooke Whitmore, a senior majoring in elementary education.

Paige Heinen and Jaimie Carey, also elementary education majors, use the IRC for printing.

"It's saved us a lot of time and money to be able to use the die-cuts and make copies of lesson plans," Carey said.

The center is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Gerstner estimates 100 students use it daily. Faculty can access IRC after hours if needed.

"Officially only college of ed students (and technology can use the center), but we don't turn anybody away," Gerstner said.