University unaffected by other schools’ lab closures

Austin Arnold and Austin Arnold

The University of Virginia has started to close many of its computer labs because they are being left unused. According to, 99 percent of current freshmen at the University of Virginia brought a laptop with them to campus, leading to the diminishing need of computer labs.

Although the widespread use of personal computers may cause some colleges’ computer labs to be dormant, this does not appear to be an issue here at the University, according to Debra Wells, director of client services for Information Technology Services.

‘I was surprised to hear that a large university such as Virginia would be closing most of its labs,’ she said. ‘Yes, a lot of students here have their own computers but as far as shutting down labs, this is just not the case here.’

Support Services Supervisor for ITS Josh Von Lehmden said unused computer labs are not a big concern.

‘Although there might be a slight decrease in lab use lately, there has been no talk of shutting down any labs on campus.’

There are several reasons why students use computer labs on campus, but there is one specifically that will keep them in high demand for some students, Von Lehmden said.

‘Students have to rely on computer software a lot more now then they did in the past, software that is available on most lab computers,’ he said. ‘And many students don’t have that software on their personal computers.’

Senior John Van Eman is one student who relies on the software available on campus computers from time to time, he said.

‘I’m a VCT major, so when I have a project to do, I use the lab computers because I don’t have programs like Dreamweaver and Flash on my computer,’ he said.

Van Eman lives off campus and he said that he uses the computer labs one to two times a week.

‘I use either the Technology Building lab or the one in the Union, usually the tech lab because the Union lab can get real busy at times,’ he said.

According to Von Lehmden, during this semester, an average of about 2,000 students use the Union lab in one day.

‘The Union and Library labs seem to be the busiest as far as usage on campus,’ Von Lehmden said. ‘I notice a lot of people around the Union lab from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I think that’s because most people are on campus at this time of day.’

Not only does the time of day affect how crowded campus labs are, the time of the semester also matters, Von Lehmden said.

‘The beginning and end of the semester, as well as midterm, are busier times for the labs,’ he said.

Von Lehmden suggested that students should try going to less frequented labs such as Hayes 025, the Technology Building lab, and the Music Building lab in the basement to avoid congestion.

As the end of the semester is approaching, it may be useful for students to know when the various labs on campus are open, especially during finals week. For a schedule of the labs and the times they are open, visit