By Juan Calvillo
Internet infrastructure and access across campus will get a $2.5 million upgrade focused on expanding the schools Wi-Fi system. The upgrade is being done to address the increased number of devices. This includes laptops, phones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices, on campus at any given time.
Savio Pinto, Deputy Chief Information Officer College Technology Services, said East Los Angeles College’s current internet system can already handle multiple devices. He said the project’s focus is to create a better experience for students.
Michael Pascual, vice president of Administrative Services, said the project’s start is tied to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
“The HEERF funding runs out in May 2023. So we are expediting everything so we can meet that deadline,” Pascual said.
The funds for the upgraded system are coming from the remaining $4 million the college received during the pandemic.
HEERF money is from the Education Stabilization Fund, which was provided for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Pinto said when the project starts there will likely be groups working during the day and some during the evenings. He said the project will be a concerted effort and that many groups, like Student Services and Administrative services, will have to be consulted when it comes to classroom use. He said the goal is to not impact class or student life on campus.
“We will be working around them to make sure we get this thing done,” Pinto said.
Pinto said everything from switching equipment, access points and cables will be changed on campus. He said ELAC leadership has made the decision to put student success first with this new project.
He said having the ability for students to take online classes and use more online tools was key to their decision of helping students.
Takeshi Fujii, regional manager College Technological Services, said that people on campus have mobile devices that are carried far beyond the classroom and buildings covered by the current campus WiFi. Coverage outside of buildings is imperative at this point.
A survey company was hired to look into where antennas will be placed around campus to expand the Wi-Fi.
Places like the parking structures have been taken into consideration for the new enhancement of the campus Wi-Fi.
“We’re actually at that stage right now where we’re going to be soliciting bids in order to build out that infrastructure in the outside areas.
“You’re going to have coverage, once this project is completed, inside as well as outside. That’s an exciting thing, and it’s going to be all new equipment,” Fujii said.
Pascual said the South Gate Center is only going to be at the current building for another year and a half. Knowing that, the plan for the Center is to continue to fix situations but to be cost effective.
He said the new building, which is in the early stages of preparation, will come with all the improvements that the Monterey Park campus will get when it comes to Wi-Fi and internet infrastructure.
Pinto said currently the Center has the same level of set up for the internet that the Monterey Park campus has.