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Fishbowl Cluster To Move to Bldg. 12

By Zareena Hussain
Staff Reporter

A new Athena cluster in Building 12 will replace the soon to be displaced Fishbowl cluster in Building 11.

The new location will be just past the Building 4 Cafe in room 12-182, said Director of Planning O. Robert Simha MCP '57.

"The goal is to have the [Building] 12 space ready for occupancy after the spring break. Then the Building 11 cluster will close," said Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56.

Construction to renovate the new location will begin in February, although a construction schedule has not been finalized yet, said John P. Dunbar, space administrator for Physical Plant.

"The intention is to have no downtime between opening of clusters," Dunbar said.

The new cluster will house 25 workstations and a printer, said Vice President for Information Systems James D. Bruce ScD '60. There are currently 29 workstations in the Fishbowl.

The relocation of the Fishbowl - as well as the relocation of Athena User Accounts and Online Consulting, both located in Building 11 - was triggered by the recommendation of the financial and academic services transition re-engineering team that a Student Services Center be created to consolidate a variety of student services into a convenient and centralized location.

The center - where students can use common services of the Bursar's Office, Registrar's Office, and the Student Financial Aid Office - is presently operating in its pilot stage in Building 7 right next to the current Fishbowl.

The completed Student Services Center is expected to open around the middle of July, said Director of Administration and Operations Stephen D. Immerman.

"Our current plan is to move the cluster during spring break; this is ambitious but is the current target," Bruce said. "The biggest concern about the timeline is whether we can do the necessary construction during the eight weeks that we have available."

Building 12, which is not on the Infinite Corridor, was chosen because "this was the only space meeting our general requirements in the main campus buildings that could be made available," Bruce said.

One of the main requirements for a new location was its timely availability to move the computers out of the Fishbowl and the rest of the Student Services Center in.

"The student services people want to move in and be up and running by the fall semester," said Associate Director of Planning Robert K. Kaynor.

With the relocation of the Fishbowl, there will no longer be a computer cluster along the Infinite Corridor.

Finding another location along the Infinite Corridor would have displaced a large number of administrative services, Kaynor said. To move them would have taken a much longer time.

"We wanted space on or near the Infinite Corridor, space large enough to accommodate about the same number of workstations we have in the Fishbowl and space that could be made attractive," Bruce said.

The loss of the highly visible Fishbowl cluster is lessened by the opening of a Building 56 cluster scheduled for this Tuesday, Simha said.

The Building 56 cluster will replace that cluster in 16-034, which closed yesterday because construction on Building 16 is beginning.

The "new cluster in [Building] 56 will be very visible," Kaynor said. "It will be more visible than the Fishbowl."

The Building 56 cluster will be able to be viewed from both outdoors and the hallway, Kaynor said.

Students will miss Fishbowl

Students had mixed feelings toward the changes.

The Building 12 location is "kind of out of the way," said Cyrus N. Wadia G. "There's a certain charm to [the Fishbowl] when people walk by."

"When you walk in the Infinite Corridor, it's really easy to see if clusters are available from the screen [posted at the window]," said Vincent Ha G.

Some students said that the Building 56 cluster may not fully replace the charm of the Fishbowl.

"It's an MITinstitution that would die. That's the sad thing," said Valentina Sequino '97. "All the admissions tours stop in front of the Fishbowl."

"The traffic there is not nearly as much as in the Infinite Corridor," said Barbara B. Barotti '98.

Reaction to the expanding Student Services Center that is replacing the Fishbowl remains positive.

"I really thought the new office was really convenient. I had my transcripts printed in two minutes," Sequino said.

However, some believe that the center has no need to grow.

"I didn't think they needed to expand it - everything is there already," Barotti said.