Volume 93, Issue 12

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


USC predicts financial upswing

Student elections could be online in future

New phones to have all the fixings

Senate to decide on disaster studies

Steel tree of knowledge to aid engineers

A college by any other name

News Briefs

Caught on Campus

New phones to have all the fixings

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

For students in residence who have wondered whether there have always been snazzy phones in their rooms – the answer is no. They're part of a new phone system the rest of the university is expecting to have by Thanksgiving weekend.

According to Richard Blore, telecommunications manager at Western, there were many reasons for the new digital phone system. "One – it's not Y2K compliant," he said. "The system is also fourteen years old."

Blore added how it was becoming increasingly costly to repair the old system, so the university thought it would be wiser to splurge on a new system altogether.

In addition, Blore applauded the new system because, unlike the old one, it would take advantage of all of the new features, such as call display.

Right now 1,800 of the $4.8 million phone system are in use. Eventually there will be 6,400 in use throughout campus, Blore said.

Mike Bauer, director of Information Technology Services, said so far, so good when it comes to the phones in the residences. "There has been a couple of technical things," he said. "But apart from that, things are good."

According to Bauer, there is a help line and web site set up for those experiencing problems with the phones. Bauer said less than five per cent of students on the new system have needed the help.

Mona Brennan-Coles, telecommunications team leader and member of the technical selection committee, said choosing a phone to accommodate everyone on campus was a two phase process. "We had to consider cost, growth, future technology, ease of use and ease of maintenance," she said.

Brennan-Coles also said the university's main switchboard number would be 661-2111, to replace the old 679-2111.

Susan Grindrod, senior director of housing and ancillary services, said students seem to be responding well to the new system. "I think it's been going fairly well," she said.

New students in all of the residences were fortunate as they did not have to go off campus to set up telephone lines on their own, Grindrod added. "Returning students really like it because of all of the features and it's easy."

Brianne Vescio, a first-year science student and resident at Saugeen-Maitland Hall, said she has had a problem with her line. "I don't like how you can't call the operator," she said. "It's kind of inconvenient with phone cards. I have to go to the pay phone to use it."

Yet Scott McIntyre, a first-year social sciences student and Saugeen-Maitland Hall resident, commended the new system.

"I like it a lot," he said. "It's convenient and great for billing."

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999