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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE creates Cisco lab that sets standard, executive says

By Kenney Kost/ne news editor

The new Cisco lab on NE Campus opens up with more room, racks, computers, hardware and new courses like Cisco Certified Network Associate securities and voice-over IP. “It’s the Cadillac of labs,” one Cisco executive said.
David Reid/The Collegian

With enrollment doubling over the last five years and being pushed beyond capacity in a cramped lab in the Health Sciences Building, the NE Cisco lab needed an upgrade.

Now, after months of planning, NE has a Cisco lab that impresses even Cisco executives.

“It’s the Cadillac of labs,” said Gay Berryman, Cisco Academy Training Center co-director. “I’ve seen a lot of labs across 10 states, and this one is the best I have seen.”

The move was necessary on many levels, including size and location.

“We had about 35 networking racks, and they were really cramped together,” said NE instructional associate of Cisco technologies Ricky White. “Since we were in the Health Sciences Building, Ken Moak [NE computer science associate professor] had already been working to try and get us into NTAB with the rest of the tech department.”

When NTAB 1106 and 1107 opened up, Moak and NE vice president of academic affairs Gary Smith decided it was time to move the lab.

White, with the help of TCC network managing tech James Lemay, created a 3-D model of the new lab in AutoCAD, an architectural design program. After months of brainstorming, Moak approved the design, and the project moved forward.

“We really thought through every detail possible as far as positioning, placement and what to have on each rack,” White said. “We did our best to think of everything.”

It is not just the size upgrade or the amount of equipment in the room, Berryman said, but the diversity of the equipment along with how the equipment gets implemented into the curriculum that sets the lab apart from others.

With the new space, the department can offer new courses such as Cisco Certified Network Associate securities and Cisco Certified Network Associate voice-over IP along with being the only campus to offer both Cisco Certified Network Associate and Cisco Certified Network Professional certifications.

White said they upgraded from 35 to more than 50 racks between the two rooms. They moved the remote access server, which offers students a 24-hour-a-day virtual lab to work from, into the server room providing more space to the new lab as well.

The move was a no-brainer for Moak. He knew the move into NTAB would benefit everyone in the technology department.

“The synergy that comes from getting into the technology building is great,” he said. “It keeps us all a little closer and opens up the possibility of more collaborative projects in the future. Logistically, it just makes sense.”

Moak praised the work of Lemay and White. The lab is much more organized, and the two paid close attention to detail, documenting everything being done and labeling equipment to make future projects that much easier.

Moak said the faculty and staff running the lab and the various programs make the department shine.

“I sign off on everything, but it’s those guys that deserve the credit,” he said. “The equipment doesn’t teach the students. It’s guys like Neil Brooks [computer science assistant professor] and others that make it work. We have an exemplary staff.”

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