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BudgetFriendly Systems Furniture for School Administrators

The "teachers' room" of yesteryear has come a long way from a hideaway to get away and have a cup of coffee. Today's faculty rooms and regional administration centers are built around modular "intelligent" furniture systems served by local and wide area networks (LANs and WANs) designed to facilitate communication and collaboration necessary to manage the K-12 and beyond educational process. They also must be flexible enough to handle ongoing floor space reconfigurations and adopting new technology.

While few will dispute this, school boards and institutions of higher education face annual budget battles where tough decisions must be made regarding allocation of resources. "Smart comparison shopping among various vendors can yield astonishing results and help administrators upgrade their office facilities in a cost effective manner with long-term savings," says Marc Bassil, Vice President of MAiSPACE, Mt. Olive, NJ. The name is based on the furniture industry acronym Modular Architectural Interiors. "Office systems solutions for schools need not be budget-busters," he says. "Our modern manufacturing techniques deliver superior quality systems products in a wide range of colors and styles at prices 40% below quotes from competitors saddled with obsolete production lines.

Yet they are equipped with standards-compliant voice, data and power systems, easily handle moves, adds and changes (MACs) and are backed by a lifetime guarantee." School-Friendly Systems Solutions Bassil cites an example as a school district in Illinois that upgraded work areas for faculty members. "Plans called for dedicated areas where teachers of like curricula ? i.e.

business, art, math and science ? can meet and interact, yet have their own private work stations equipped to access internal and external information resources," he says. "The first task was a complete upgrade of each school's cabling infrastructure based on industry standards for category 5e cabling to support Ethernet LANs. Each faculty member's work area was to be equipped with high-speed access to the Internet and the district's own information resources, with a phone line and ample power supplies.

" Like many school districts, this was a growing one, meaning a like growth in the faculty and its need to access information resources. This called for a flexible system allowing office configurations to easily adapt to expanding requirements. Modular office furniture provided the means to achieve this. "In this instance," Bassil says, "smart shopping yielded a solution that combined standards-compliant cabling in a high quality, economically priced, modular furniture system rather than separating cabling and furniture into two separate projects.

" As explained by Bassil, conventional systems designs incur significant costs when MACs are made to accommodate new personnel or department expansion. They typically call for licensed technicians to reroute or install new cables from a telecommunications closet to the work area. "Cable-friendly systems furniture such as MAiSPACE is designed to allow technicians to access pre-installed service loops of cable slack built into the panels and reroute from that point," Bassil explains. "This eases the installation and decreases the cost and time spent on additional installations." The design incorporates a series of interconnect brackets mounted directly within furniture panels. Cabling interconnections are concealed behind removable panel covers to provide a neat appearance, but allow convenient access, and ample space is provided for cable service loops to support future relocation efforts.

"The unique 'plug and play' design is so simple it can be quickly mastered," says Bassil. "This means that school maintenance personnel can handle in very short order the MACs that previously required hours or days by trained technicians. The result is significantly lower operating costs over the lifetime of the installation." Other Purchasing Criteria for School Systems Furniture Today's workstations must be ergonomically correct for faculty comfort and to address workmen's compensation, insurance expenditures and absenteeism issues. Furniture should be flexible and adjustable to meet individual preferences.

Users should be able to create a comfortable environment. Examples include panel-hung components that are adjustable at 1- inch increments, flexible orientation for the workstation, and curvilinear work surfaces with cascade edges. Keyboard trays and tool rail tiles should allow easy access to work tools. "Aesthetics are also important when it comes to attracting and retaining qualified faculty," says Bassil.

"A pillar in the MAiSPACE value proposition is its broad range of choices in colors, textures and finishes that add class and a pleasant ambiance to today's administration centers. Examples are panel segment options that include laminate, Coverseal, veneer, painted metal, embossed steel, brushed stainless steel, airflow, clear glass, frosted glass, or textured glass, fabric, tackable/acoustical, power/data, marker board and paper management." To help meet timetables and reduce costs, systems furniture vendors should be expected to provide all the assistance necessary to insure a smooth installation process from day one, and should spell this out in their proposals.

"Another pillar of the MAiSPACE value proposition is a professional in-house design team to produce the best and most cost-effective layout not only to satisfy customers' current staffing demands, but also to plan ahead," says Bassil. "The company's designers understand facility issues and employ the most appropriate product applications and space planning layouts. This entails the use of the latest versions of AutoCAD and GIZA specifying software to achieve furniture and floor plans that are virtually fault free." Related to this are accurate detailed specifications, product lists and installation drawings. "Our objective is to provide educational institutions with beautiful and functional offices without sacrificing affordability or performance," Bassil says. "Moreover, we commit to meeting project time frames, quick turnarounds and fast resolutions to revisions.

These services are free with a signed purchase order or order placement.". will help business owners and operators make smart choices in Discount Office Furniture and Boardroom Furniture for their offices and selecting the right Office Furniture.


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