Executives address student questions

UNA executives responded to student questions on Wi-Fi issues, Panda Express, the Anderson College of Nursing building and changes with going Division I in the Guillot University Center Performance Center on March 6, 2017.

Stephen Putman, chief information officer of Information Technology Services, said the university started improving the Wi-Fi in fall 2016.

“The megabytes were being used extremely fast,” Putman said. “(IT Services) had to get more data usage to be able to power all the equipment running off Wi-Fi.”

The current data usage size is one and a half gigabytes. By the end of April, it should be upgraded to five gigabytes, he said. One gigabyte is 1,000 times larger than a megabyte. This upgrade should improve the speed of the Wi-Fi for students tremendously.

Evan Thornton, chief financial officer of business and financial affairs, said Panda Express should open before May.

“We missed a few deadlines with Moe’s opening,” he said. “So, I’m cautiously saying eight weeks.”

Thornton said the state board has to give the final approval after the construction of Panda Express is complete. Thornton also said the Anderson College of Nursing building has a set date of March 30 to begin construction.

“It is projected to be of use fall of 2018,” Thornton said.

In August 2018, UNA will join Division I’s ASUN conference for all intercollegiate athletics except for football, which will compete in the Big South conference.

“I am proud of the role that I played, working with so many people who are here and in the audience, in finally bringing the Division I discussion to a conclusion,” said President Kenneth Kitts. “One fine day, in probably 5-10 years, you’re going to turn on the TV, and there we’ll be on ESPN playing in an SEC game. the UNA Lions and the whole country will be seeing that.”

UNA Director of Athletics Mark Linder said the Division I transition will bring UNA a new platform.

“The university looks at athletics and going Division I as a brand,” Linder said “We will use this to our advantage to increase our enrollment opportunities. We are a great university. We need to start telling our story. I think this Division I opportunity will allow us to do that.”

Linder said athletics bring everyone’s eyes to the university. Division I will give UNA students, athletes and alumni power of their degree.