Classroom clocks leave kids confused

By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 29, 2004

Students sitting through long lectures might find their eyes wandering toward the clocks on their classroom walls, only to discover those clocks are often wrong.

But students may no longer have to be frustrated with the off-time clocks in many classrooms if a new Global Positioning System is installed by Facilities Management.

All clocks on campus are wired to a master clock that controls all clocks on the main campus. But as the master clock gets older, more classrooms clocks are off.

Charlene Quintero, a systems engineering senior, said she has several classes in the César E. Chávez building and said all the clocks in that building seem to have a different time.

"It's kind of frustrating because I have several classes back-to-back. I'll leave for one class a little late because the clock is wrong and get to my next class late because that clock is early," she said.

Facilities Management has responded to 30 calls of broken or off-time clocks since July, according to Chris Kopach, associate director of Facilities Management.

"Our engineers go fix them when we get a call, whether they're off by two minutes or two hours," he said.

Kopach said many clocks in the College of Nursing have problems.

But students say there seems to be at least one broken clock in every building.

Valerie Shearer, a veterinary science senior, said several of her classes don't have working clocks.

"I have a class in Koffler, and that clock hasn't worked for a long time. Then I have a class in the (Material Science and Engineering building) that doesn't even have a clock," she said.

Shearer said not having a working clock is sometimes frustrating.

"I know it's a bad habit, but I always look at the clock during class, and it just makes the class longer when you don't know how much time is left," she said.

But Dan Mason, general biology sophomore, said he doesn't pay attention to the clocks in any of his classes.

"I try not to look at them so I haven't noticed if they're off. Class goes faster if you don't keep looking at the clock," he said.

Kopach said the master clock is at least 15 years old and said Facilities Management has been having problems with it.

"We want to have clocks working properly, but it would cost $10,000 to fully repair the old system," he said.

Kopach said within a few weeks Facilities Management will be meeting with a company that installs GPS clock systems. The GPS would be wireless and more efficient, he said.

Kopach said Facilities Management will look at whether the GPS is cost effective before deciding whether or not to go with the system.

If they don't go with the GPS, Kopach said Facilities Management would be looking at other options.

"We'll have to look at whether we can keep repairing the old system or come up with funds to buy another system," he said.