Vital Statistics
School Board of Sarasota County
Sarasota, Florida
Facilities Facts:
Sarasota County: 43,000 students Pre K-12; 5,500 staff; 7.1 million+ square feet of space and 1400 acres of grounds.
ARCHIBUS Applications:
Capital Budgeting, Space Management, Building Operations Management, Emergency Preparedness, Condition Assessment
3rd Party Applications:
FM Studio
Reasons for Implementing:
Elimination of paper-based systems for more efficient work order processing; preventive maintenance; long-range planning.
Benefits Gained:
Annual reduction in administrative costs of $90,000; improved work efficiency/accuracy; faster customer service, lower re-work rates; better warranty tracking; more effective preventive maintenance
Business Partner:
M Group International, Inc.
Web Site:
The #1 Solution in the World for
Total Infrastructure and Facilities Management

School Board of Sarasota County, Florida, Gains Savings and State Compliance with ARCHIBUS

Not that long ago, it would not have been an exaggeration to say that students in the Sarasota, Florida, public schools had more capable computer resources to do their work than the School Board's facilities managers had to do theirs. That may not be so surprising since the school has always placed a priority on funding the educational needs of its 43,000 K-12 students who occupy a sprawling complex of over 7.1 million square feet of fixed and portable classrooms and other properties.

So with a growing portfolio of properties and management responsibilities, and mostly paper-based systems and outdated IT tools to deal with them, Sarasota's schools knew it was time for a change. It created a "No Facilities Manager Left Behind" program by adopting integrated workplace management software from ARCHIBUS, Inc.

Paper Chase

A primary drag on efficiency in the Sarasota schools, notes the system’s Executive Director of Business Analysis, Deborrah Metheny, was its reliance on paper. Its paper-based drawings, work orders and other resources and practices hampered quick data access and operational efficiency in servicing its 472 permanent buildings, 721 portable classrooms, 102 storage units, and 1,400 acres of grounds throughout the county.

Not helping matters was the county’s reliance on an outdated work management system to power what was readily admitted to be a reactive maintenance program. With maintenance crew members required to commute to, and be dispatched from, a central location, worker productivity was wasted by “windshield” time spent commuting. Or they’d miss the opportunity to perform additional services in the same facility or vicinity because no remote work order system existed.

With state reporting requirements making an accurate facilities and equipment database non-negotiable, it became apparent that more online information with concurrent tools for modelling and analysis were essential. Only then could the Sarasota school system efficiently manage its drawings, telecom, condition assessment, capital planning, emergency management, remote handling of work orders and more.

Accelerated Deployment Gets an “A”

Once the decision to implement ARCHIBUS was made, a transformation in the school district’s systems and operations began in record time. The new software was used to create a space database using the Florida Inventory of School Houses (F.I.S.H.) state reporting system. That was followed by the conversion of all building floor plans to CAD, and the transition of the school board's aging work management system to the new software application that supported remote work order handling.

Workflow processes were also mapped, staff trained, and a brief one-month trial run completed before the system went live throughout most of Sarasota County. In fact, the accelerated implementation was completed in less than six months with minimal deployment costs.

“There were lots of doubts about implementing the system in that short a time,” says Metheny. “We used some of our staff but relied heavily on our outside vendors to collect and input the data as well as convert drawings to CAD. Our Business Partner, M Group, did the linking of drawings to the new system and helped train staff, so that accelerated the process.”

Even more important, the systems consultant created the database to conform to the State’s “F.I.S.H.” requirements and worked on the condition assessment and work order management pieces as well.

Best-in-Class Results Save Time, Money

Sarasota’s new facilities and infrastructure platform eliminates the stumbling blocks by finally giving technicians accurate, real-time access, via laptops and handheld wireless devices, to drawings, work orders, equipment history and other data. That allows them to respond more quickly, work more effectively, and do more without the district requiring staff increases.

Moreover, the Facility Department’s reduction in duplicate paperwork enabled them to cut two staff positions, saving $90,000 annually. “$90,000 is just the beginning of the savings we expect to see as we put more and more information online,” Metheny points out. “Through the Space Management application, we expect to see a more efficient use of space that can reduce our capital budget expenditures on new classroom or administrative facilities. In that context, ARCHIBUS in a K-12 environment is a gold mine – it should be in every school system in the nation.”

With centralized data, and other amenities such as bar-coded equipment, the School Board of Sarasota has also been able to introduce better monitoring of warranties and preventive maintenance practices. The result has been less equipment downtime, lower repair costs, and an expected increase in system lifecycles.

Not-So-Remote Possibilities

Now on the drawing board are plans to coordinate space assignments with personnel records, full implementation of the new remote work management system, and the integration of a productivity measurement system. The Board will also be placing an emphasis on coordination of crisis response plans, along with the introduction of a capital planning function and performance benchmarking procedures.

In fact, the School Board of Sarasota County’s foresight in technology planning ensures that it will achieve two main goals. Not only will no facility managers be left behind, they’ll also be left with no doubt that the investment in the ARCHIBUS solution was one that deserves extra credit.