Division finds bargain deals for new school
At a time when budget dollars are tight for everyone, a Gloucester County Public Schools employee went shopping for some deals on office furnishings.
When he was done, school division assistant superintendent John Hutchinson had purchased and relocated approximately $600,000 worth of office and classroom furniture, most of it in like-new condition, for less than $25,000.
Much of that equipment is earmarked for the new Page Middle School, which is set to open next fall.
“It was all about the timing. We looked at the right time,” Hutchinson said of his shopping spree that saved the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When it came time for the school division administrative offices to move into the T.C. Walker Education Center last fall, there was little money available for new furnishings. Most of the old furniture was not up to the move, so Hutchinson said he put the word out that the school division needed some office furnishings.
That networking led Hutchinson to C2 Technologies Inc., a performance improvement company based in Newport News that was reducing its office space. “We got a lot of modular sections, bookcases, desks,” he said. “It was about $100,000 worth of office furniture in good condition, and it was a total donation.”
The donation was more than enough to meet the school division’s needs, so the division opened its trove of furnishings to other county agencies. Several county departments took advantage of the offer to gain no-cost furniture for their own offices.
With a new middle school underway and no money budgeted for its furnishings, Hutchinson asked the county’s central purchasing agent, Bill Lindsey, about the possibility of finding gently used furniture for the school. Lindsey recommended that he contact the state surplus and procurement office in Richmond.