New computer lab open at BFD firehouse in Durbin
Residents of Durbin gathered Sunday at the Bartow-Frank-Durbin firehouse to celebrate the grand opening of a new public computer lab.
The 10 computer lab, which includes a large screen TV, was created by a grant from Future Generations WV in Pendleton County. The non-profit organization's goal is to place computer centers in fire stations around the rural parts of West Virginia.
Jenn Whiteis, lab organizer and instructor, said the lab will offer broadband internet and training opportunities to Durbin and surrounding areas.
"We're going to have the center open this week with regular hours and will start the classes soon" Whiteis said. "We have people signing up now. The first class is a Microsoft online class series."
The classes are open to people with different levels of experience with computers. Whiteis said the classes will include word processing as well as some photography editing.
BFD fire chief Buster Varner is enthusiastic about the new computer lab and is happy the fire department is involved with the project.
"They wanted the local fire department to be a part of this because of the accessibility and local fire and rescue departments are always willing to help the people in the community."
At first, Varner was skeptical, but he soon realized the community was in need of computer access.
"I wasn't optimistic at first because I just assumed everybody had computers and the more I looked into it, especially the older people in the community don't have computers and they're wanting to gain knowledge of computers," he said. "I could use some more computer knowledge myself."
Varner added that the fire department and rescue squad will benefit from having the lab in the firehouse.
"[We] can take online training on the computers and we have a big screen that we can do presentations on," he said. "I think it's a win/win for everyone."
Future Generations WV has also received a grant to place a computer lab at Cass Volunteer Fire Department.