HOLLAND, Mich. — Fleetwood Group Inc. is responsible for the design of mobile and flexible furniture, especially for the classroom. A recent contract with the Charleston County School District in South Carolina has reassured the company’s position in the school furniture industry.
The designs from Fleetwood include cabinetry, desks, tables, storage and mobile teaching/learning stations. The recent $3.5 million contract was awarded to Herald Office Systems, Fleetwood’s dealer in Charleston. The contract is part of a major effort by the school district to rebuild/renovate schools over the next five years to meet new safety standards, and due to a growing student population in the area.
Fleetwood will produce cabinetry for 420 classrooms in 15 schools, winning after a two-year bidding process against five competitors. The classrooms will be equipped with two Fleetwood Learning Walls, which use modular casework instead of built-in casework, allowing more flexibility as classroom space requirements change. The company also hopes to supply more furniture to the district in the future.
“Since being awarded this contract we have begun bidding on other furniture that the school will need and we hope to be in a position to fulfill all of their loose furniture needs,” said Jeff Pett, vice president of sales and marketing for Fleetwood.
The unique component of the furniture is the Learning Wall, as it allows for classroom flexibility, which is seen in many 21st century school designs.
“While not completely mobile, they can be easily disassembled and removed from the room to another room or another building without having to destroy and rebuild cabinetry,” explained Pett. “This allows a school to keep their learning spaces completely flexible for future repurposing, or to make building repairs without damaging the cabinetry.”
The Learning Wall will be incorporated at the Charleston schools in standard rooms with over 22-feet of Fleetwood cabinetry in front of the class consisting of two 8-foot Learning Walls, a center cabinet to support an interactive display, and two mobile cabinets, according to Pett.
Fleetwood has had many successes in the past and hopes to continue the trend into the future by offering school leaders and architects the tools they need to develop a better classroom atmosphere.
“We spend most of our time and energy selling the concept of keeping learning spaces flexible,” said Pett. “Once school leaders and architects grasp the benefits of doing that our entire line provides the tools to execute that philosophy.”
Fleetwood not only provides furniture to improve the flexibility of classroom space, but also is saving school districts money with its fast and efficient approach when working on a project.
“We have had some great success stories where our school customers have built or remodeled a school building without having any built in cabinetry — then our furniture arrives in several trucks and a few days later a school is ready to open.” said Pett. “We have been credited with eliminating a whole month out of the construction process, which all by itself provides huge savings to the school.”