AgCenter adds public computer lab

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A new tool to assist citizens in gathering information is a computer lab at the LSU Ag Center/Washington Parish Extension Office, located at 1104-B Bene St. in Franklinton.

The computer lab consists of six touchscreen computers that are available to the general public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The lab has been up and running for about a month.

The computer lab was funded through the Connect My Louisiana Program. It is a broadband Internet education and awareness initiative for the state. The four-year project consisted of developing and disseminating educational content to show the benefits of adopting broadband technology in business, education, health care and other aspects of economic activity in the state. Washington Parish and 17 other parishes were the focus of the initiative.

“Some of the things people can do on the computers are type documents, create presentations, check their email and browse the Internet to do research,” Associate Extension Agent Lacey Keating said. “The only thing that is not set up right now is printing. People will have to bring their thumb drives to save their information and take it to another location to print.”

Keating said the office is also equipped with a 3-D printer that is open to the public.

“With a 3-D printer, people can create three dimensional objects,” Keating said. “There are endless things to choose from that people can do. The 3-D printer is a type of industrial robot that takes an electronic data source, links it to the printer, which creates a three-dimensional object of almost any shape by laying down successive layers of material under computer control. This is an advanced technology that many individuals have not been exposed to, but it is here in Washington Parish ready for public use.”

Keating said no appointment is necessary to use the computer lab, which is located in a separate office space.

Keating has been with the Extension Office since 2006. She is also involved with 4-H development and agriculture and natural resources, or ANR.

“With ANR, I work with livestock producers and am now doing horticultural work for the parish,” Keating said. “I work with vegetable growers and commercial producers and answer questions about forestry and lawn and garden. I love working with the community.”

A Folsom native, Keating graduated from LSU in 2005 with a degree in animal science.

“I’ve always been interested in agriculture,” Keating said. “I was raised with horses and always knew I wanted to work in agriculture.”