The new Service Desk location in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union is now officially open for walk-in tech support. After nearly a year of planning and construction, you can visit the flagship space just down the hall from Bojangles on the south side of the building. While digital signage will help guide you from inside the Union, you can’t miss the “tech help” banner stretching across the windows facing South Road.
With the new space open, Tar Heels who need hands-on tech support can choose between two walk-in locations to visit — the new space in the Student Union or the existing location on the lower level of the Undergraduate Library. Both locations offer the same services and are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., no appointment necessary. Virtual support, including live chat, is still available in the Help Portal.
The year-long renovation involved stakeholders from across campus. From ITS, the project team included members from the ITS Service Desk, ITS Communications, ITS Project Portfolio & Change Management and ITS Networking. Various groups from Facilities Services also helped plan and build, contributing interior design work, electrical, painting and custom cabinetry. Arts Everywhere provided support for the mural, including consultation, helping to form a request for proposals, guiding the artist selection and navigating a direct commission.
Open and inviting
While the new space is now open to all Tar Heels, it was used for a narrower, key purpose this summer — New Student and Family Orientation. Orientation is a busy time for the Service Desk, with approximately 1,900 walk-in interactions over the two-month period.
During orientation, students pick up their new CCI laptops from Student Stores, then many walk over to the Service Desk for help. These first impressions set the tone for their time at Carolina and their interactions with ITS. ITS Service Desk student worker Lea Klissouras called the new location “a great first stop for new students visiting for orientation.”
“The new space is so open, modern and inviting — it felt energetic,” said Calvin Groves, Director of the ITS Service Desk. “You could tell it was a space everyone enjoyed being in. People had nothing but good things to say.”
Bright and modern
When asked to describe the new space, many visitors used words like “bright” and “modern.”
Service Desk student worker Ava Klissouras said the space has a “modern vibe and a lot of natural light.”
Lea Klissouras, who works at the Service Desk with her twin sister Ava, echoed, “It’s great how modern it is.”
While the wall of windows adds natural light, a feeling of brightness also comes from color and design choices. The colors — Carolina Blue, orange and green — all from the ITS and UNC brand palettes — add to the energetic vibe. The colors are sprinkled throughout the design, but they coalesce into the new location’s most eye-catching element — the new mural.
Denver-based artist ILL.DES created the bright and bold mural that commands attention as soon as you enter the Service Desk lobby. The mural not only provides an energetic backdrop, it has a neat bonus feature — it moves. As part of his winning proposal, ILL.DES suggested adding an augmented reality (AR) element.
When viewed in AR, the entire mural appears to animate. To see the mural come to life, visitors can download the Artivive app on their smartphones.
The new mural is “definitely” Groves’ favorite thing about the new space.
The mural is also Ava Klissouras’ favorite aspect of the new location. “It’s so creative and aesthetically pleasing,” she said.
When project team members were identifying prospective artists for the mural, they included students in the process. Ava Klissouras was one of those students. “It’s really nice seeing my and my peers’ creative input in a tangible way,” she said.
Read more about the mural on the Service Desk’s page.
When ITS began the renovation project, the space was a blank canvas. For the project team, that meant both a lot of work and a lot of opportunity.
“Our ability to craft a space from the ground-up meant we could focus on designing a space that best works for our customer population,” said Groves.
A key principle in the space design was flexibility. Staff desks offer sit/stand flexibility and tables are on wheels so the team can move them around as needed.
Existing walls needed to stay, but even the permanent spaces offer flexibility. While a few staff have dedicated offices, others are “hotel” offices to support hybrid work for full-time employees. The main glass-walled conference room can be used for meetings or to extend the customer support area.
For new student orientation, the conference room tables were rearranged and distributed throughout the space. This meant an easy flow for staff as they helped set up new machines. Ava Klissouras, the student staffer, called the arrangement “very conducive to helping multiple students at once.”
ITS employees are looking forward to students discovering and using the new Service Desk location. There’s a tangible sense of pride when staff talk about the new space. “It might even be the nicest building on campus,” said Lea Klissouras.
“I’m excited to see how the new space supports our Fall Rush, when we get our biggest wave of clients during the first week or so of classes,” said Ava Klissouras.
For Groves, he plans on his team “settling into the new space as more and more folks learn we’re open over here.”