CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Eurma C. Hayes Community Center celebrated the Nov. 3 grand opening of the Community Technology Center (CTC), a three-room suite where community members can access free broadband, check out tablet computers, print documents and learn how technology can benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Representatives from the university and the Eurma Hayes Center signed a memorandum of understanding. The public was then invited to tour the CTC, funded by a $30,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Broadband READY program, in partnership with the Illinois Innovation Network. It is also supported by donations of furniture, carts and tables from educational institutions.
SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane said the CTC fits well with SIU Carbondale’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, which includes a pillar to enhance partnerships.
“The CTC perfectly illustrates collaboration within our community to invigorate social vibrancy,” he said. “Access to broadband is necessary in today’s connected world, and it can be a challenge in rural areas. We are glad to work with the Broadband READY program to provide access to this technology for people who might not otherwise have it. I am excited to see how the CTC will make an impact for high school students, older adults, business professionals and many other people.”
Bob Wills, executive director of the Eurma Hayes Center, agreed the CTC will benefit people at many stages of life.
“It’s a grand opportunity for the northeast side of the community – for all of Carbondale and the region – to learn more about the technology that runs the world,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal idea.”
The suite features an open-access community room, where people can check out Chromebooks and use the broadband connection, a seminar room and a classroom where professionals can learn to use technology for their businesses such as creating a website or using Excel. Gary Kinsel, a professor and research and innovation strategist in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences, said the CTC’s offerings will be based on feedback from the community.