ADCS proposes move to vacant bookstore

One of the Academic and Distributed Computing Services offices in Shepard Labs is converted from a janitor’s closet.

Tricia Michel

Every day, information technology specialist Neil Brock walks by a maze of cramped cubicles in Shepherd Lab to his first-floor office.

The Academic and Distributed Computing Services supervisor said he is grateful that he has a door, but the room is far from luxurious. In fact, it used to be a janitor’s closet, and the 6-by-6 foot space can be a tight squeeze.

“It’s hard to have a meeting with anyone,” Brock said.

That is why Brock and the other approximately 150 computing services employees said they are looking forward to moving into new office space next year.

ADCS has long outgrown its Shepherd Lab office space, said director Shih-Pau Yen, who began working in the department as a graduate student more than 50 years ago.

It moved into its current space in the late 1960s, and since then, its number of full-time employees has more than tripled as computer use increased on campus.

Until now, solutions have been patchwork – adding office space in Eddy, Frasier and Nicholson halls – but the department will finally be consolidated next year into the 21,000-square-foot Williamson Hall space vacated by University Bookstores.

Karen Ballor, an architect with the University’s Capital Planning and Project Management office, said computing services has never had enough space, which is why she is excited about the move.

University Bookstores closed its Williamson Hall store in March, when it opened its Coffman Union location.

Currently, the Williamson Hall second floor is still home to the bookstore’s accounting offices and warehouse distribution center.

University space and facilities coordinator Michaeleen Fox said she has asked the bookstore to move its remaining Williamson Hall operations to the West Bank campus.

The University is putting together a proposal to convert 27,000 square feet of space in Williamson Hall into office space, Ballor said. Once completed, the lower level will go to Academic and Distributed Computing Services, and 6,000 square feet on the second level will be renovated for admissions offices.

Yen said the department has been trying to move and consolidate for years and that he has been eyeing the Williamson Hall space since hearing about the bookstore’s move two years ago.

“Space is a goldmine here, and to get space, someone has to give up space,” Yen said.

Construction on the $2 million renovation will begin in February and is expected to be completed during the summer.