The ribbon was cut to open up the new computer science lab at Weber State University on Thursday.
The new lab was a renovation of an old lab that was built during the Cold War Era. The once dim, run-down room was turned into a bright, inviting room, with more space for students to work.
“We haven’t remodeled this area probably since the Cold War Era,” said Greg Anderson, department chair of computer science.
Anderson said that there was a fallout shelter directly under the building and was one of the only shelters on WSU’s campus.
The room was repainted with the WSU colors of purple and white and decorated with banners that relate to the computer science students.
“It makes the students feel like the program is important,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, the computer science program at WSU has more graduates than any other university in the state of Utah. Students are graduating college and starting off with desirable incomes. Sean Stromberg said that it was nice to see facilities now match the quality of the program.
The Stomberg family donated $50,000 to the renovation of the lab. Some members of the family are graduates of computer science from WSU.
“They definitely are a ‘purple family,'” Anderson said.
Anderson said students feel very comfortable, and that they’re in an environment that makes them feel like they can learn.
“It’s been really cool to see the transition from the dungeon to the really nice lab,” said Alex Marcum, lab aide and computer science major. “It’s nice to look and not see pipes coming down from the wall.”
Marcum has been at WSU for two years, working on general education and classes in his major. Marcum said the new lab has attracted more students since the renovation. The lab was mostly completed in January, and Marcum said a lot of the students liked the fact that the lab had carpet.
Marcum also said that when he heard about the Stromberg donation, he was happy with the fact that they could get rid of “stuff that looked like it was from the 40s.”
He said he thinks that when people come down to the computer lab, they’ll have a different feeling than what their first impression used to be.
“We really wanted our labs to be cutting edge and be a true representation of the amazing program we have here,” said Kelly Stackaruk, development director for the College of Applied Science and Technology .
Stackaruk said the strongest reactions from students were from seeing the banners on the wall that they could understand. One example was the artwork on the back wall containing numbers that translated “Drink more ovaltine,” which Marcum said motivated him better.
“The Strombergs are an amazing family, and they’re so passionate about Weber State and our students,” Stackaruk said.
There are more plans of remodeling in the future.
“We would like other donors to come in and sponsor specific rooms,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he wants to see more rooms, including the gaming room and Mac lab, remodeled for better learning experiences. The remodeling for the computer science lab took over four months, but Anderson said it was worth it.
“It’s amazing that just by adding carpet, painting the walls, putting brighter lights and doing remodeling can affect how a student feels about their learning,” Anderson said.