The Meridian Activity Center held an open house Thursday afternoon to showcase its new learning lab, complete with new computers, hardware, software and classes on a variety of technological topics.
The MAC Learning Lab is now equipped with six new student stations.
It has also been outfitted with a large monitor for use during classes and an Amazon Alexa interface, allowing users to ask questions verbally and solve problems.
Clay Hamilton, a volunteer lab manager, has worked closely with the center on developing the space and getting the computers up to par with relevant software.
“They’ll have Google Chrome and Google Docs,” Hamilton said. “We’re gonna teach Microsoft Office and we’re going to use this free video editing software if anyone wants to learn how to edit videos.”
The lab will also have classes in the future on how to use your smartphone and Wordpress, as well as open studios for people to simply learn and explore.
“We’ve got 42 people signed up already on the waiting list," Hamilton said. "Now that we’ve got these nice machines set up we want to get people in here and learning.”
The lab has WiFi and computer stations for use but users may also bring their own laptop.
The lab is open to anyone 21 or older.
It has made a special impact on seniors such as George and Garrie Ann Richardson, both of whom are interested in staying afloat in the age of tech.
“This is going to be fantastic,” George Richardson said. “It’s really going to open the world up to people who are scared of things like that (technology).”
“It’s hard to believe things have come so far,” Garrie Ann Richardson said.
The project was funded with volunteer work and a grant of about $4,300.
“The Lauderdale County Council on Aging was kind enough to update the lab,” said Kathy Anderson, director of the MAC. “With the approval of the mayors office and the city council we’ve been able to move forward.”
“We know that there’s a demand for access to technology and how to use it in Meridian and so we’re excited to work with volunteers like Clay and our director Kathy Anderson and the council on aging, bringing all theses parties together to provide this resource to the city of meridian,” said Julia Norman, the city's government affairs representative.
“It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with the city,” Anderson said.
Classes will begin sometime next week. Many of which may be full or waitlisted, but there will also be classes available online.
Information can be found online at MacLearningLab.com.