The glistening, under-construction Student Services Building will become Cal Poly Pomona’s new architectural centerpiece and a one-stop hub for the academic and financial needs of students.
But before the doors of the new facility open early next year, the logistics of moving entire departments from the CLA Building need to be figured out and coordinated. It’s a complicated process involving human resources, telecommunications and technology, and space dynamics.
The Department of Facilities Design & Construction and consulting firm Kaleidoscope Concepts have taken painstaking steps to ensure that the desks, chairs and office equipment that now occupy the CLA Building will fit into the 138,000-square-foot Student Services Building (SSB).
Members of Kaleidoscope team have come in regularly on weekends with tape measures in hand to take the dimensions of desks, chairs, cabinets and other equipment. Any furniture that is going to the SSB has to be measured to ensure that it will fit in the new office space. Those dimensions are then worked into Kaleidoscope’s workspace map of the SSB.
Arranging these disparate pieces of office equipment and furnishings can be likened to playing the 1980s-era video game in which a player has to stack rectangular blocks in order to accomplish the task and reach the next level.
“It literally is like ‘Tetris.’ We measured every piece of furniture and tried on the computer to fit as much as we could into the new building,” said Christine Peter, the principal at Kaleidoscope. “We’ve practically lived in the CLA Building. We’ve been in there for months and months.”
The Department of Facilities Design & Construction is overseeing the construction of the $82-million SSB and sorting out the myriad details of the move. Costa Mesa-based Kaleidoscope, which has assisted companies such as Vans shoes and Applebee’s with corporate moves, is helping to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
In addition to the divisions and departments that will make the transition, more than 350 workspaces need to be outfitted in the innovative facility. Facilities Design & Construction and Kaleidoscope Concepts have been meeting monthly with the university’s team of move coordinators, who hail from various departments and act as communications facilitators for departments that will move.
Aside from office furnishings, Facilities Design & Construction, Kaleidoscope and the move coordinators team are sorting through other minutiae involved with the transition. Everything from the color of labels for moving boxes to compiling a turn-in list of keys from CLA offices to the number of file containers moving to the SSB has to be taken into account.
Sections of the SSB have been color-coded to simplify the process for movers. Instead of looking for departments, movers will instead move boxes according to colors.
“When the movers come in, they’ll know that the boxes with the green labels always go to the green section of the SSB,” Peter said. “Then they’ll look for the room number or work station number. It’s a very linear, easy process for the movers.”
Kaleidoscope has been involved with the move since 2016, when the company started an assessment of existing furniture in the CLA Building. The firm came back this year to update that initial assessment, which laid the groundwork for the overall moving plan.
“This has been a long haul. This was not an overnight job,” Peter said. “It’s a pretty complex move. There are a lot of moving parts all at one time, but you have to keep everything moving forward all at the same time.”
To save costs on furniture purchases for the SSB, President Soraya M. Coley encouraged the use of existing furniture from the CLA in the new facility. This also would lessen the potential of discarded furniture ending up in landfills.
“The biggest challenge in utilizing existing workplace furniture and components from different departments is trying to get them to fit in the SSB,” Peter said. “We want to make sure all the components are placed in the right spots.”
Furniture that is moving to the SSB also needs to comply with the California Fire Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The state fire marshal will inspect the furniture for compliance.
“We can’t take stuff from the CLA Building that won’t meet code,” Peter said.
Division Coordinators have started getting the word out to start purging files that are out of date or no longer needed. Peter acknowledged that triage on existing file containers may need to be performed so that all essential files fit into the storage areas in the SSB.
“You don’t want to try and fit 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag. We want to address those issues now so they don’t go to the SSB and then find out that it’s not going to work. That’s too late. We’re trying to be proactive,” Peter said.
The goal of Facilities Design & Construction, Kaleidoscope and Division Coordinators is to make the transition to the SSB as trouble-free as possible. That has meant trying to foresee the needs of CLA Building occupants before the move occurs later this year.
“We try to make it easy for everyone. Just label your items, do the things that we ask you to do. Nobody needs to stress out. We don’t want it to be a stressful move,” Peter said. “We want this to be an exciting time. People are going to be moving into a beautiful new building.”