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      WIU receives grant for new computer lab

      WIU School of Computer Sciences received a $50,000 dollar grant to expand its department's facilities.

      Western Illinois University School of Computer Sciences received a grant to expand its department's facilities.

      Thanks to a grant from State Farm, WIU officials are well on the way to plotting out a new state-of-the-art computer lab.

      State Farm representatives presented a $50,000 check to the Dean of the College of Business and Technology, Tom Erekson, and other WIU faculty.

      "It will be a multi-purpose lab with applications in networking and all the kinds of things that our corporate sector needs, but also things in computer graphics and digital media," Erekson said.

      The school will use the money to convert Room 111 in Stipes Hall into an advance application and development lab.

      More than 275 students will have access to between 30-35 computers with advance 3D software graphics and applications.

      "With regards to the grant today, they were able to apply for it because they're one of our system priority schools and they got the award," State Farm Service Manager Kevin Burke said.

      Since the late 1980s, State Farm has been one of the top employers of WIU graduates.

      State Farm representatives hope the lab will improve student's knowledge of digital technology.

      "I believe this lab will help them be more prepared with working with more advance technology, as well upon graduation, and in turn that could help us out," Burke said.

      The lab is expected to be completed just in time for the start of the fall semester.