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April 2002 Case Studies

Deterring theft

Lack of available parking prompts officials to encourage alternative transportation methods

Cycle-Safe. With 59,185 students attending the University of Minnesota (U of M) system, it is one of the largest universities in the world. Surprisingly, the number of students who live on-campus is not as high; only 14 percent live on campus. The remaining 50,000 students and the 30,000 employees who commute to campus on a daily basis pose a parking problem because many of those 80,000 choose to drive to campus every day. There are only 18,500 parking spots on campus and instead of building parking garages and paving over green spaces, officials are encouraging students and employees to use a bike or take the bus to school.

In order to see this idea through and convince students that their bikes would be safe when left unattended, they needed secure, dependable, easy-to-use bike parking. U of M officials turned to Cycle-Safe bike lockers in 1995 and since the initial installation, the university has continued to add lockers every year as the waiting list gets longer and enrollment increases.

For an annual fee of $66, all faculty members and students are eligible to rent a locker at any of the 15 different locations across three separate campuses (East Bank, West Bank and St. Paul). The community that surrounds U of M has installed 187 bike lockers in 31 different locations, including 16 park-and-ride lots. Plans are underway to erect a park-and-ride station between the East Bank campus and St. Paul campus. This will allow people to park their cars, get on a bus that has a built-in bike rack, then exit the bus and ride their bikes to campus, where secure lockers will await.

Online purchasing

Center incorporates e-procurement to deal with administrative issues throughout the state

AcquireX. The Wilson Education Center is one of nine statewide education service centers in Indiana providing leadership and support to schools. Member school corporations gain access to a variety of programs, ranging from volume purchasing to teacher training to student-enrichment opportunities.

The center set out to identify a method for bringing all cooperative purchasing online and to streamline paperwork; create a better mechanism for reporting; and reduce both hard and soft administrative costs. There were two major factors that were considered in selecting an e-procurement system. The center wanted a provider with financial stability and one that would allow the center to promote its own statewide bids. AcquireX was selected.

Starting on June 1, 2001, member school corporations of The Wilson Education Center and other service centers across the state were able to purchase goods through the system. Purchasing can be done by buying directly from AcquireX or by buying from facilitated vendors' catalogs. The module is tailored to accommodate the specific vendors to Indiana and to establish supplier contacts. In both cases, the electronic process mirrors the schools' own workflow with built-in controls based on their approval processes.

The biggest challenge faced by the center is not uncommon to institutions and organizations across the country. When looking for enterprise-wide change, organizations change slowly and often perpetuate sameness even without much effort. The center expected the change to be a learning process, but a good one.

Technology answers

Maintenance department finds solution to the “work request black hole”

Schooldude.comHistorically, at South Lyon Community Schools, submitting a maintenance request required faxing and phoning the maintenance department; this often resulted in requests lost in the paper shuffle or delayed by miscommunication. The district needed a method that connected the maintenance department with the more than 400 requesters at various locations throughout a 100-square-mile district.

Schooldude recommended MaintenanceDirect's Internet-based work request service, Communication requires full-circle feedback in order to assure requesters their needs are fulfilled. Requesters can be notified through e-mail if they choose. By completing the communication circle electronically, the maintenance staff and those who request the work order save time. It also keeps everyone informed on the status of the request.

Because this new service is Internet-based with no client installations to maintain, software improvements can be delivered immediately and without interruption to all system users. Upgrade pains are non-existent because it is not necessary to manage software installations. Schooldude manages the installations, upgrades and data backups with MaintenanceDirect's service.

The interfaces are simple to use because they are web-native and user-friendly. The simplicity comes from being designed to display information based on specific user roles. Each user sees a nearly custom view of information pertinent to his or her role. MaintenanceDirect provides a specialized user interface for each of the basic team roles in the maintenance process.

Flooring solutions

Heavy usage demands a durable floor

Gerflor. Before BasketBall City Boston opened in March 2000, the location on top of the Garden Parking Garage near the Fleet Center in downtown Boston was home to a six-court tennis club. When the new operators took over, they immediately installed Taraflex Sport M Maple Design in three basketball courts. In November 2001, they added three more of the same floors, resulting in approximately 40,000 square feet of basketball courts.

More than 1,000 people visit BasketBall City each week, including the men's and women's varsity basketball teams from Bunker Hill Community College. Three Boston-area high schools also use the courts for practices and games. Newman Prepartory High School, Commonwealth School and the Renaissance Charter School use the facilities due to a lack of their own facilities.

With the courts in use from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, a floor that enhances performance and shock absorption and provides added safety was a priority. Another benefit for the heavily used floors is the easy maintenance that requires dust mopping once a day.

The line of synthetic floors is designed to combine shock absorption and other safety features without compromising performance. The multi-layered floors provide safety and resilience through a laminating process that combines a 100 percent pure vinyl wear layer with reinforced fiberglass and a patented closed-cell foam backing.

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