Most departmental computing infrastructure reflects the state of networking technology and available funds at the time of construction, which converge in a preconceived notion of homogeneity of network architecture and usage patterns. The DMAN (Digital Media Access Network) project, a large-scale server and network foundation for The Hong Kong Polytechnic Universityis School of Design, was created as a platform that would support a highly complex academic environment while giving maximum freedom to students, faculty and researchers through simplicity and ease of use. As a centralized multi-user computation backbone, DMAN faces an extremely heterogeneous user and application profile, exceeding implementation and maintenance challenges of typical enterprise, and even most academic server set-ups. This paper summarizes the specification, implementation and application of the system while describing its significance for design education in a computational context.