History of SCTX Computer Club

The Founding of the Sun City Texas
Computer Club: History and Documents Summer 1996

May 24, 1996: Note on interest by Dell Computer in hiring Sun City residents for part-time work. This announcement appeared in the June 1996 Newsletter (it hadn't been named Sun Rays at that point). Dell did not follow up on this contact.

July 1, 1996: Invitation to a "...Meeting to discuss possible SCGT computer and Internet activities:  7:30 pm Monday, July 8, 1996 at the Legacy Hills Picnic Pavilion" This invitation was distributed to mailboxes of 11 residents thought to be interested, asking them to invite their new friends and acquaintances.  The distribution list of these 11 residents is included.  Of these 11, in 2006 three still live in the same house here; and three are deceased, having served as officers and/or very active contributing members of the Club.

July 8, 1996: An agenda for the initial July 8 meeting to discuss possible SCGT computer and Internet activities.  The 2nd and 3rd pages of this agenda contain summaries of of the numbrer of responses to various questions raised at the meeting.  See the next item for a list of those who attended or wanted to attend.

July 12, 1996: List of those who attended the July 8 meeting, or who could not attend but indicated interest in participating. Note that, of the 21 individuals or couples listed, 5 had e-mail addresses. The Internet was largely unknown among Sun City residents at that time. But it was known about enough to be a reason why some residents were interested in the meeting and subsequent developments.

July 15, 1996: Memo to Danny McCoy on setting up a community web site for Sun City Georgetown.

July 22, 1996: Ågenda and summary of the 2nd meeting of those interested in computer and Internet activities. This meeting discussed the possibilities for a computer lab in the crafts building (undere construction); organizing an Internet/Computer Club; and a web site for the Club and the community.  Program ideas and interests were also discussed, leading to the firrst substantive programs of what would become the Computer Club (next item).

July 27, 1996: A schedule of nine specific meetings, classes,
and programs between the dates of July 29 and August 26, 1996. The classes and programs were held on Monday afternoons in
the training room in the Del Webb Sales Center Annex (now #130 Chisholm Trail). These events beginners sessions on computers and the Internet, the first outside speaker, and a trip to Austin by four members of the group to create the first Sun City web page. our Monday afternoon meeting time dates from these earliest days of the Club's formation.  A contact list of 36 individuals and couples as of July 27 appears on the 3rd page, still with 5 e-mail addresses.

August 24-27, 1996: The first Sun City Internet/Computer Club web page
August 24-27, 1996: The first Sun City Georgetown Community web page.
Both of these were created on August 24, 1996 by members of the incipient Sun City Internet/Computer Club --  Jo Burgess, Jack Miller, Ulie Alt, and Peter Roll.  They were aided and taught by an 8th-grader from St. Stephens School in Austin. The pages were posted to the Internet on the following two days by David Riggins, then Webmaster of the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network, a volunteer organization that helps non- profit organizations create web sites.

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Club in 1996, these documents were the subject of a CyberSocial presentation on July 31, 2006.  This completes the summary of the earliest days of the Computer Club in Sun City Texas. Since its formation, the Computer Club has been the largest organization in the community.

Evolution of the Sun City Texas Computer
Club's CyberCenter

In January 1997, the Internet-Computer Club was formally recognized and a Grand Opening of its first Computer Lab was held.  This Lab included one Mac and one Windows 95 computer purchased for the Club, plus three retired IBM PCs from the Del Webb Corp. The computers, lab furnishings and other expenses were purchased with funds (about $25,000) provided by Del Webb.  The Lab was located in half of a large meeting room, space now occupied by the Ceramics Studio.  The Lab added a 2nd Windows computer, then two ore and one Mac (purchased with funds provided by an Austin startup victim of the dot-com bust in yr. 2000). It expanded again early in 2001 into the other half of the large meeting room (space now occupied by the Photography Club) and brought its complement of Windows computers up to 12.

In the fall of 2003, the Lab was moved into the Activities Center when that building was remodeled from a sales center and turned over to the Community Association.  At this time, the Lab was renamed the CyberCenter, and it included a Lab (14 Windows and 2 Mac computers); a Classroom (12 Windows computers); a small meeting room at the rear (seating about 30), and a small workshop.  Two of the Windows computers were equipped for use in converting old media to digital formats, along with equipment in the Workshop for converting 8-mm film to digital.

The CyberCenter was expanded again in the summer of 2009: the Lab  from 16 to 21 computers ( 18 Windows and 3 Macs) using space previously partitioned off for small meetings. Space at the front of the building, previously occupied by the Art Studio, was remodeled and assigned to the Computer Club as an annex for meetings of up to 50 persons -- now referred to as the CyberCenter Annex and equipped with ceiling-mounted dual projectors. The Classroom by that time had added seven MacBooks for Mac classes, now replaced by Mac Minis.  And it too was equipped with a ceiling-mounted projector.

Two Q&A's about the Club

Some documents going back to spring 1995, related to possibilities for computer and Internet services in the community, but not specifically to the beginnings of the Computer Club:

February-June 1995: First visit by Peter & Nancy Roll to the Sun City Georgetown Del Webb sales office at I-35 and Williams Drive in February 1995, to inquire about interest and plans by the Del Webb Corp. in computer and Internet services for residents. Since nobody in that office knew what I was talking about, I was referred to a telephone number in Phoenix. Over the next two months, this led to contact with Rod Gallager, the network manager for the Georgetown Sun City
development.  Rod had been encouraging the company in directions similar to my thoughts and was overjoyed to be contacted by a propective resident. This led to e-mail correspondence, a meeting with Rod on June 16, 1995 in Georgetown, and the next day to our signing a contract to purchase a home.

June-July 1995: E-mail correspondence with Rod Gallager.  By that time, Rod had begun working with an Austin firm, Microsource, to develop a network service proposal for Sun City Georgetown, and he encouraged me to outline my ideas and participate in discussions with this firm at a meeting in late July.  Linked here is a brief summary of that effort, followed by lengthy outlines of specific ideas for services (dated June 26), and different network architectures to delivers such services (dated July 18, 1995).
April 16, 1996: Community Internet/computer services memo, requested by Danny McCoy (new Exec. Director), outlining some of  the things that could be done in the community using Internet services; this is a direct ancestor of the RFP for the Sun City Texas Community Web Portal, April 29, 2005.

May 5, 1996: Internet video services outline, requested by Danny McCoy, summarizing some of the things that might be done.

Compiled by Peter Roll
Documents linked are from the hard disk of Peter Roll; converted from Macintosh word processors that are now (2010) at least 2 generations out-of-date.
July 17, 2006; rev. August 2010.