Recently, room 101 at the UNC School of Social Work was converted from a traditional classroom into one capable of web conferencing for distance learning. A generous private donation covered the cost of the technical equipment, but new tables and a different kind of chair for the students would also be needed to maximize the facility.
Jack Richman, dean; with his staff Andy Chrismon, facilities manager; Manny Garcia, director of CITU; and Kelly Smith, business manager; looked at the space and discussed the expense of the chairs. There were existing chairs in the classroom, but they had the folding desk connected to them, and the room required tables with movable chairs. Each new chair would cost about $240 and 30 were needed.
Chrismon suggested that perhaps we could sell the existing chairs to another department, to offset part of the cost. He tried this, but could not find a buyer.
Then Garcia thought, what if we cut off the desk part of the existing chair and file down the metal to smooth it out, and just use the old chairs?
However, the group discovered that the base and the desk components of the chair were connected in such a way that simply cutting it off wouldn’t work…but the base could be replaced.
Chrismon called the manufacturer and found out we could get a new chair base for $30, and they sent him one. He then removed the old chair bottom which included the desk attachment, and replaced it with the new chair legs.
It worked and now we have a perfectly good chair for $30 each. UNC maintenance staff assisted with converting the remainder of the chairs.
“So we paid $900 to recondition the old chairs, instead of $7,200 to replace the chairs — a savings of $6,300,” said Richman. “This is a great example of the cooperative thinking between Manny, Andy and Kelly!”