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Until now, students looking to get their computers repaired had to venture over the river and past the Stadium to Harvard Technology Services’ Computer Repair Center on Western Avenue.
“Students had to walk all the way to the end of the universe,” said Jason Lydic, a sales representative for Technology Services.
Starting tomorrow, the University will consolidate its sales and repair capabilities at a new facility in the basement of the Science Center, in an effort both to increase convenience and to lower costs.
Since closing the product center—formally located on Dunster Street—in December of 2002, Technology Services has been planning to join it with the repair center to provide students with hardware support, repair and access to computer products in one centralized location, according to Technology Services Director Joanne Silva, who is overseeing the project.
“Right now it doesn’t appear to be interactive, but we’re hoping to make it an interactive demonstration center for computer products, for IBMs and Apples specifically,” Silva said. “We’re also hoping to make it a place that provides [students] with convenient access for hardware repairs.”
Silva said the Technology Services buildings have always been located on the outskirts of campus and it would often be difficult for students to carry their computers 20 minutes to the computer repair center on Western Avenue.
“I remember I had to wait a few days in order to make it there during business hours,” Clay Capp ’06 said.
He added that he thinks the new product and repair center is “a wonderful step...it’s more convenient and cheaper so it’s a victory for students all around.”
The shutdown of the product center on Dunster Street and the merge with the repair center in the new location is part of a larger initiative to lower computer product costs to students, according to Silva.
In addition to reducing overhead costs by leaving the Dunster Street location, Technology Services has sought to lower prices by purchasing in bulk from a single vendor.
Whereas the product center previously offered PCs from multiple vendors such as IBM, Toshiba and Sony—in addition to Apple models—the University decided to buy only from IBM to consolidate costs.
“The University senior leadership decided that the University should, from an administrative perspective, standardize on one PC vendor to leverage the University’s volume to get better, more competitive pricing,” Silva said.
The center also plans to offer free workshops on new Windows and Apple programs, but Lydic advised students with software problems to consult the University’s designated software assistants.
Lydic said he thinks the new center will be very user friendly, but warns that students with a hardware problem will have to leave their computer at the center to be checked. The center will accept computers on warranty from IBM, Apple, HP and Gateway, printers on warranty from Epson, and will repair computers by any major manufacturer without warranty at a cost to the student, Lydic said.
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