Opening new schools solidifies a partnership
The ODP Business Solutions™ Workspace Interiors team helped a school system secure furniture for new K–12 schools it opened in 2021. Together, the teams overcame supply chain and timing issues, so students could start school on schedule.
Two former Teach For America corps members founded the school system in 1988 to help Texas students improve their achievement and college readiness. The new administrators committed to sending 100% of the schools’ students to college. Focusing on that goal, the system grew quickly to serve more students in more communities.
In 2020–21, more than 1,400 seniors graduated from the schools. For the 15th straight year, every one of them was accepted to college. As more graduates headed to college, Workspace Interiors provided furniture for the new facilities. The relationship between the teams was strong — and was the key to overcoming challenges, so students could begin classes on time in every new school.
The school system committed to the on-time opening of five new campuses, all furnished by Workspace Interiors.
Administrators planned to open five campuses for the 2021–22 school year. By the time crews broke ground on those schools, Workspace Interiors had provided furniture for the new facilities for the past five years.
The Workspace Interiors team was ready for the exciting challenge when planning began. Students from four states — Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Ohio — would become a part of the school system’s family as they prepared for college.
Understanding the system’s growth strategy and instructional goals was critical to the Workspace Interiors team’s ability to choose and deliver the right furniture and equipment solutions for the new schools.
Workspace Interiors designers work in the K–12 sector, so they’re familiar with public sector decision-making and solutions for new schools. In addition, ODP Business Solutions is a supplier to the school system, providing:
Along with experience in the education field, Workspace Interiors brought connections to a nationwide network of manufacturers and the ability to provide a variety of furniture solutions. The designers listened to the system’s administrators and stakeholders, gaining clarity on the furniture project’s goals and minimum requirements for each new facility.
A dedicated Workspace Interiors project manager tracked the schedule, headed off potential problems, and coordinated communication across all the stakeholders. The broad range of solutions helped to keep the teams in control of their plans, even when supply chain issues began in 2020.
Collaboration and communication kept confidence in the Workspace Interiors team high, even through unusual supply issues.
Opening five new facilities was a substantial goal for any year, even one without the challenges of 2021. The unprecedented issues in the supply chain affected everything from food to school supplies to furniture. However, knowing that back-to-school dates aren’t flexible, the Workspace Interiors team had backup plans, even when everyone began working from home in 2020.
Working with Workspace Interiors, the school system gained access to multiple suppliers. When supply chain issues arose, the designers and project manager recommended solutions as early as possible, leveraging Workspace Interiors’ nationwide footprint and broad network of suppliers to find the required furniture.
Workspace Interiors kept school administrators updated — and that honest, relevant communication made it easier for everyone to make informed decisions and take action to keep the project moving on time.
The furniture design of the facilities supports the goals and principles of the school system, and every new school opened on time.
The schools aim to provide an environment in which students can maximize their learning and achievement. Workspace Interiors collaborated with administrators on requirements and innovative furniture solutions that would help meet that goal.
The designers understood that the school system strives for equity, so it was important to provide furniture that would enable learning for all kinds of children. Capitalizing on a top trend in school design, Workspace Interiors installed “calming rooms” that offer soft seating and carpets, ambient lighting, colors that evoke calmness, and more. These innovative solutions support better learning for the new schools’ students.
The on-time opening and innovative design of the new facilities improve chances of college for students — and of a bright future for the school system.
As the school system continues its ambitious expansion, the administration’s relationship with Workspace Interiors is growing. Administrators are seeking to consolidate vendors so that Workspace Interiors does more, including marketing, decals, posters, and more.
Workspace Interiors provided a turnkey solution that enabled the five new schools to open on time — from scoping the project and working with architects to choosing furniture and managing installation. Another win: Because the calming rooms were so well received, other school districts are interested in creating such areas in their facilities. It’s an example of how Workspace Interiors can help other school systems follow in these successful footsteps.
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