The Washington Legislature is down-loading $1.5 million to improve computer capabilities at the Community Colleges of Spokane.
“You are talking about a load of technology here,” said Dick Hol, director of information systems for the colleges.
Nearly $18 million was approved by lawmakers earlier this session in what is being called a major technology initiative for the state’s 32 community colleges.
From that money, Spokane’s colleges are planning to install new fiber optic cables and other wiring to create a network within the two schools and their programs in Colville and Kettle Falls.
More and more computers will be linked to the information highway and to each other, Hol said.
The community colleges in Spokane will join a statewide college computer system, he said.
Some of the money will go to build links so the Spokane colleges can offer two-way video instruction.
For example, students in Colville will be able to take classes from instructors in Spokane.
The link-up will allow video images and conversations between the two locations, Hol said.
Money from a separate $400,000 federal grant will be used to help build that system, he said.
The grant was from the Rural Electrification Administration.
New computers will be bought for faculty members as well.
Hol said budget cuts in recent years have prevented community colleges from building computer and video conferencing networks.
Lawmakers were convinced during the session that the colleges need to catch up if students are to succeed in today’s high-tech economy, said Bruce Botka, spokesman for state Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
The money was included in the supplemental budget for 1995.
“The benefit for students will be improved computing capability,” Hol said.