The University of Virginia plans to close most of its public computer labs by the summer of 2011, citing a need to save money, reports the Roanoke Times. Mike McPherson, a university information officer, said the school had been planning to close many of the labs in the coming years, but the economic downturn has stepped up that effort. According to a recent report, 99 percent of the Class of 2012 brought a laptop to school, although the university does not require it. McPherson said percentages like that show how outmoded the idea of general-purpose computer labs is. As for software the students don’t have, McPherson said the university is looking at options that include installing a cloud-computing network. Officials still have not decided how they will address students’ need to run software that requires more costly hardware than the computers they bring to school, or their need to access printers. UVA is not alone in rebooting its approach to public computing. Virginia Tech, which requires incoming freshmen to have computers, has worked to phase out most of its general-purpose labs. Others, such as Virginia Commonwealth University, said the labs are necessary, because students are not always inclined to tote laptops to school for fear of damage or possible theft…

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