Tacoma Public Schools serves over 30,000 children in grades pre-K through 12. Not surprisingly, the number of buildings is enormous—35 elementary schools, nine middle schools, five high schools, and 14 alternative learning sites.
While it’s Washington State’s third largest school district, Tacoma Public Schools is number one when it comes to instituting ground-breaking ideas. For example, Lincoln High School earned state innovative designation for a pilot program that provides students with an additional 540 hours of instruction over four years. In addition, state-of-the-art technology, such as SMART boards, is being introduced.
But innovation—especially the high-tech kind—isn’t just being employed in the schools. The district’s Planning & Construction Department has taken steps to take their overcrowded, 800-square-foot archive room from the proverbial Stone Age into the preferable Digital Age.
“We were drowning in documents that have been accumulating for over a century,” said Rob Sawatzky, director of planning and construction. “This vital facility had crammed all of its information into dozens of file cabinets, which made it very difficult to access in a timely manner.”
A Viable, Reliable Solution
Recently, an in-house logistics group started the arduous task of scanning all that critical data, everything from architectural drawings to operation and maintenance manuals. In the process, they purged the archive room of duplicate documents.
Shortly thereafter, it became clear that more scanning help was needed, and so the Planning & Construction Department called in their venerable printing vendor, ARC Document Solutions.
While ARC is very adept at scanning and extremely knowledgeable about the intricacies of construction documents, it’s the cloud-based Archiving & Information Management (AIM), which is powered by SKYSITE InfoLink, that brings the whole solution together.
“It’s more than just having digital copies of documents,” explained Sawatzky. “It’s having a way to access them in the most efficient manner possible—and that’s what ARC provides.”
The conduit for this uber-efficiency is SKYSITE InfoLink, an app technology designed with the architecture, engineering, and construction industries in mind. Functions include categorizing and allocating files to specific project folders along with the real-time sharing of any and all documents.
Pushing the Digital Envelope
At the present time, ARC is finishing up the scanning process and getting ready to move on to the indexing, labeling, and cross-referencing phase. Once that is completed, the Planning & Construction Department will be sitting pretty.
Sawatzky, however, will not be sitting still. He’s already setting his sights on training everyone in his department on how to use SKYSITE InfoLink for upcoming construction jobs.
“It’s an excellent tool for construction teams—everyone in the field will be able to sync up their tablets and have access to the latest documents,” he elaborated. “No more lugging around large, bulky blueprints or returning to the trailer to get changes.”
That also translates to printing a lot less paper, which is a good thing. Not only is it great for the environment but it’s also great for business because there’s a lot less space needed for storage.
The former overcrowded behemoth of an archive room is being converted into a maintenance and operations center.