Downgrading the CADD Lab


Photo By: Casey Jacobsen

Geography students working on their projects in D-4, the CADD Lab.

With the greater push towards technological evolution comes the need for more advanced security. Cam High’s CADD lab, room D-4, a computer lab designated for computer aided digital design classes, has recently learned that lesson the hard way. Four instances of theft of RAM (random access memory) from the computers in the lab are under investigation, but currently there are no leads as to who has stolen the modules or even when the thefts occurred.

Earlier this month, CADD lab students noticed that the computers were running slower. After running some diagnostics, Mr. Chip Mills, the CADD teacher, and the students found three computers had one of their two RAM modules, 2GB for each module, removed. This caused severely decreased performance and caused the afflicted computers to crash.

The lack of funds for the architecture program meant that spare parts were ordered by Mr. Glenn Lipman, Cam High’s principal, on behalf of the class, out of his own personal budget.

The CADD lab has a total of only 38 functional computers at any given time so, with two classes of 35 students each, it could disrupt the class if four or more computers are in repair or non-functioning.

“If you have a class with 38 and there is even one computer offline, then you have one student without a computer or pairing up with another student,” said Mills.

The CADD techs do not know when the modules were stolen, but Mills found that only a week after the replacements were put in, one computer had both 2GB modules, totaling 4GB of RAM, removed from the desktop again, rendering the computer inoperable a second time until spare parts could be replaced.

Mills said the parts are probably not being stolen to be sold for cash. “The current generation is computer savvy. I believe the motivation for mostly free parts is to build or upgrade a computer,” said Mills.

The computers in the lab are currently six years old and the  4GB in the units have a lot of trouble keeping up with more resource intensive versions of Windows and the Autocadd software for architecture. “I put in a request for new computers, which costs around $66,000 to replace the current set”, said Mills. There has been no word as to when or even if the new replacements will be ordered and installed.

As far as security measures go, no students are allowed in the lab without adult supervision. Students found may be reprimanded. The lab is locked full time to prevent break-ins. “If anybody sees students opening computer cases, they are to report it,” said Mills.