Advanced Technology Center at Westmoreland County Community College to boost connectivity, safety
When Westmoreland County Community College students enter the new Latrobe campus and Advanced Technology Center next year, they'll be studying and working in WCCC's most secure and technologically connected buildings.
College trustees last month approved spending more than $2.7 million on a network that will connect lights and thermostats to security cameras, phones and digital signs.
The systems are being built into the new center in downtown Latrobe and are part of the renovations of the former Sony plant in East Huntingdon, where the college's Advanced Technology Center will occupy 73,500 square feet.
“With a new building and the new installation at Sony, it only makes sense to equip it with the latest technology that's available so that when things continue to move as fast as they are ... we're able to adapt as best we can with the current technology,” trustee Gene Ciafre said.
“It's a considerable investment, but we feel it really equips us for the future,” he said.
Officials say the move will not only keep up with technology demands but save money on utilities and make the facilities safer.
Students will notice complete wireless Internet coverage, faster network connections and new digital signs that can display routine information or emergency alerts, said Patrick McKula, director of information technology.
The locations will have high-tech classrooms similar to one the school opened last semester at its main campus near Youngwood. The room features round tables for students with desktop computers and ports to connect laptops. Professors run flat-screen TVs and projection screens from a command center with a touch pad at the front of the room.
“Students and faculty are asking for technology more and more,” McKula said. “We're preparing for that. We want to give them that.”
The integrated system will enable officials to remotely turn off a classroom's lights or adjust the temperature in offices off-site, said Ron Eberhardt, vice president of administrative services.
“Being able to get a better picture remotely, at least first aid of what's going on, we feel we can react to the situation without sending a tech or someone to adjust the temperature,” Eberhardt said.
Security personnel will be able to close and lock doors from a remote location if an intruder enters a building, he said.
“Yes, there's expected cost savings, efficiencies if you will,” Eberhardt said. “But also it provides a more secure and safe environment for students and community people who use our facilities. In today's environment, we take that very seriously.”
The security camera's software will be capable of facial recognition and, if the college gains access to a criminal database, could even send notices to staff on site that someone is on campus who's not supposed to be there, McKula said.
“If we get a good, clean view of someone's face coming in the door, we could take action on that,” McKula said.
Eberhardt said the college plans to incorporate this type of network in other locations in the future, including Founders Hall, the college's next major renovation project.
Ciafre said it made sense to try the technology in new buildings with bare walls and ceilings that don't yet exist.
“It was easier than rehabbing an older building,” he said. “That was part of our reasoning.”
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or email@example.com.
Add Kari Andren to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg injunction becomes permanent
- Stormwater management plan stuck in stalemate in Unity, Latrobe, Derry Townships
- Ex-worker admits to taking money from Penn Township Sewage Authority
- Greater Latrobe schedules will be available online
- Man admits preying on Lower Burrell neighbor, taking more than $100K in money, goods
- Pickup changes to be in place at Greensburg Salem Middle School next week
- Greater Latrobe hires teachers to prepare for school start
- Jeannette will consider fee for rental properties
- Fun Party Stores in Hempfield are last 2 shops to close
- Mt. Pleasant police chief Ober retires