Here at Cristo Rey Jesuit, one of our most heavily-used resources is our computer lab, an open space containing 31 computers available for student and faculty use. The lab came together over several months during the summer, with many donations, and a lot of hard work from our great volunteers.
One year ago, when our technology director, Mark Bazin, arrived at Cristo Rey Jesuit, he surveyed the building, and found one room that was particulary well-suited to be the computer lab. Initially, the room was like many others at Cristo Rey, with a ceiling that needed to be replaced, no floor covering, and an accordion door that led to the room next door. During construction, all of the Cristo Rey offices were moved to this room -- one desk for each person, in a big, open area. As soon as construction on one side of the wing was complete, and people moved back to their own offices, construction began on the computer lab. The accordion door was removed and filled in, the ceiling replaced, and new carpet put in.
During the summer months, the computer lab was a staging area for many of the technology endeavors of Cristo Rey Jesuit. From unpacking and figuring out the Nortel Norstar phone system that was donated by a friend of Fr. Martinez's (and is in use at the school), to testing donated computer equipment, the room saw heavy use by Mr. Bazin, and his volunteers. As the school year grew closer, the room began to take shape as a computer lab, thanks to several generous donations. Strake Jesuit provided the computers that had been in its library, as well as keyboards and mice. Cheniere Marketing donated a large number of printers, one of which is the computer lab printer. We also received chairs from Exterran, and tables from the Aim Foundation. Except for purchasing surge protectors, network cables, and computer monitors, everything in the room is in place thanks to an in-kind donation, much like every room at the school.
The computer lab came together thanks to the help of several volunteers, in particular Michael Depinet, Cesar Giralt, and Nick Young. Michael is a Senior at Strake Jesuit, and chose Cristo Rey as his "Senior Service Project". Mike's first task was cleaning, inventorying, testing, and upgrading the computers available for the lab. Once the computers were ready, Mike and Mr. Bazin set to preparing the tables to function as computer tables by mounting a surge protector to the bottom of each table, and cable management rings to keep the computer cables nice and tidy. After the two had the computers in place, they set to using a disk cloning program to install software on the computers, and get them ready for daily use. Nick Young is a graduate student at USC, and a friend of Mr. Bazin's. Together, they refurbished network equipment donated by Dallas Jesuit, and tested different software configurations to get the ideal setup for our students. Cesar Giralt, another friend and former student of Mr. Bazin's, was another important volunteer, working with on several information technology projects both in and out of the computer lab. The computers in the lab are all Acer desktops, with 3Ghz Intel Celeron D processors, 2GB of RAM, and an upgraded graphics card, connected to an 18" Dell LCD monitor. The computers all run Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise, Office 2007, and are networked using Microsoft Active Directory. Next year we are looking to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010.
All of that hard work has paid-off: the lab gets regular use throughout the day -- it's often used by English, Math, and Business Communications classes, and was heavily used for the Corporate Work-Study training initiative. Currently, we are preparing for new activities and extracurriculars, such as digital media editing, and a robotics club. As the school grows, the computer lab will expand and change to fit the needs of our students and faculty. Regardless of what technology changes lie ahead, Cristo Rey Jesuit will always provide our students with the technical proficiency necessary to excel in college and beyond.