Project Overview

Bringing classrooms, meeting rooms & labs into the digital era requires skill. Getting it done within a narrow window of time requires extensive planning and precision execution. See how Alpha brings Macalester College’s educational technology vision to life.

Extron Classroom Systems With Extron Global viewer
Classrooms With Extron Global viewer

Project Details

Macalester College

St. Paul, Minnesota

2000+ Students

Facility integration
Fabrication & installation services
Cable infrastructure
Audiovisual & control systems
Specialty audio
Assisted listening
Testing & programming
Service & support
Program management


The public thinks of “competitive colleges” as ones that are hard to get into. But no matter how strenuously students vie for admission, it’s nothing compared to the way colleges compete with another to attract (and retain) those students. Ground zero in this battle: educational technology. Today’s digital learners have no patience for sub-standard tech – and if it falls short of their expectations, they’ll shop elsewhere. Ditto for faculty. As a top-tier, private liberal arts school, Macalester College seeks to provide a best-in-class technology experience. To achieve that objective, it relies on Alpha for classroom, and Conference room upgrades. Along with retrofitting existing classrooms with cameras and microphones to allow for remote learning. “We want the classroom technology to be easy to use and consistent throughout the campus,” says Brian Longley, Macalester’s director of media services. “We also want to standardize on the essential components.” One more thing: Macalester needs the work to get done around class schedules. This means utilizing the small window of time when classes are out to get everything completed and running before classes resume.


To effectively plan for the summer installations, the Alpha higher ed team starts work in January, touring classrooms that need to be upgraded, identifying any challenges, discussing the design and then providing a proposal for the entire project. Once budgets have been approved, Alpha then has time to order the products, and allocate technicians who will be ready to work immediately after students leave campus. Consistent communication throughout this process has been crucial to successfully installing the upgrades. The measure of success for the Alpha team is a technology solution that meets the needs of digital-native learners; standardizes operation for faculty, and simplifies life for service and support staff – all while adhering to budgets and timelines, providing flexibility and scalability for the future; and reinforcing Macalester’s elite brand.


A recent round of upgrades for Macalester College encompasses standard classroom and meeting room upgrades as well as customized solutions for facilities “Understanding the stakes for today’s colleges and universities as they scramble to stay ahead of the technology tide, it’s tremendously gratifying to partner with a school of Macalester’s stature,” says Jeff Merrill, Alpha Sr. Project Manager . “From our initial assessment meetings through project execution, Alpha’s work with Macalester illustrates what can be achieved when talent and resources are applied to sound strategy. Macalester has a clear vision of the experience it wants to provide, and Alpha has the ability not just to realize that experience, but to reset the boundaries of what’s possible with today’s technology.”

"It has been a really wonderful experience working with Alpha to get into the classroom at the beginning of June to start the installations and then have the entire project completed by the end of June. The whole process has been very efficient and effective."

Brian Longley
Director of Media Services, Macalester College