After numerous delays, Ohio State has opened the doors to a new campus destination for all things technology.
Tech Hub, which replaced Wired Out, opened Thursday with a special grand opening sale. The sale provided discounts to students, faculty, staff and alumni for products such as iPads, HP laptops and Beats products.
The store was originally scheduled to open in late January, but cold weather prevented construction workers from pouring concrete for a wheelchair ramp. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made wheelchair ramps a legal necessity for buildings.
Now that the cold weather has subsided and the concrete has been poured, Tech Hub is ready to welcome students looking to buy technology-related products and access other services.
Along with offering students the chance to purchase products at discounted prices, Tech Hub will also feature a second Buckeye Bar location, which provides students with help for any technological problems they might have. The original Buckeye Bar is in Thompson Library.
The store also features a new demo area. This section of the store is reserved for demonstrations of new technology and students presenting ideas of their own.
During a “first look” event held on Wednesday, the demo area hosted a presentation from Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that enters the user into a virtual world where they can look in every direction.
This demo is just the first of many new technology presentations, said Zac Herr, a sales associate at Tech Hub.
“We’ve got a lot of really new technology that’s available for students to try out,” he said.
The upcoming demos include the Leap Motion, a 3-D printer and a 3-D scanner that attaches to an iPad, Herr said.
Herr also said that students interested in developing software can rent it out for free, but there is a catch.
“We just ask that you give a presentation in our store on what you developed or write a blog post for our website,” he said.
Chris Helman, the Tech Hub Store manager, said the move from the old Wired Out location to the new one right down the street was a collaborative process.
“It started with us outgrowing the old store and wanting to move into a larger space,” he said. “We started working together with ODEE (Office of Distance Education and e-Learning) as well as OCIO (Office of the Chief Information Officer) … We’re all kind of working together to make a one-stop place for technology on campus.”
Helman said the next step for Tech Hub is preparing for freshman orientation over the summer.
“We want to make sure we get the word out to all the incoming students and their parents and make sure we get them taken care of and ready for school,” he said.
Hannah Brokenshire, the marketing communications coordinator at ODEE, explained the idea behind the upgrade from Wired Out to Tech Hub.
“There’s growing tech needs on campus and students need more than just a store,” she said. “They need somewhere where they can learn about the products that they’re buying and find out new ways to use that technology.”
Brokenshire said the overall goal is to give students a holistic technological experience right on campus.
Tech Hub will be officially open on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.