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Lake Land College looks to refresh campus technology with fewer financial resources, doing ‘more with less’

Lake Land College looks to refresh campus technology with fewer financial resources, doing ‘more with less’

Every three to five years, Lake Land College looks to implement an institution-wide technology refresh in order to ensure students, faculty, staff and community members have access to the most up-to-date technology. This cycle of the refresh is no different, except that the college has to make these changes with nearly 50 percent less funding.  

“The financial health of the state of Illinois doesn’t appear to be changing in the short-term,” described Lee Spaniol, director of Information Systems and Services, the department implementing the refresh. “So we have to continue to move forward with the refresh, doing more with less.” 

According to Spaniol, technology refreshes in years past had working budgets of approximately $3.5 million. The budget for this cycle is projected at $1.7 million. 

Because of funding instability, the college has been working to implement virtualization strategies across campus and at extension centers. According to Spaniol, these strategies have proven effective both in terms of financial responsibility and working toward a healthier environment. 

To make the computers at Lake Land virtual, the college implemented Thin Client Technologies, a device that uses only five watts of electricity versus a desktop computer that uses 85 to 150 watts. Instead of a traditional hardware tower, the Thin Clients are small boxes connected to a monitor, and software and files are saved to private cloud based servers. Using this technology saves the college approximately $80,000 a year in electricity costs. 

“Because of our virtualization efforts, we don’t have the need to replace the physical computers like in past technology refresh cycles,” explained Spaniol. “Therefore, most of the updates will actually take place on the servers, which allows us to save money since we won’t be purchasing new individual hardware like hard drives, monitors and keyboards.”  

The main goals of this refresh align with the college’s overall strategic plan and are extensive. Some of the main changes include expanding the Internet bandwidth to 100 megabits-per-second, upgrading wireless connection access, and expanding a “Bring Your Own Device” model, which allows access for students and staff to connect to their specific school content with a mobile device of their choice. 

For the last two years, the Information Systems and Services department was recognized nationally by the Center for Digital Education for using advanced information technology to reach constituents. To learn more about Lake Land College, visit: www.lakelandcollege.edu. 

 



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Jennifer Forneris
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Kelly Allee
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Paula Rosine
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Megan Nelson
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Jenny Osborn
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jkovacik@lakeland.cc.il.us
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