P2 Talks – Georgia Institute of Technology Football Equipment Storage
(watch the video below)
It has been said that with a few exceptions, football playbooks are pretty much the same throughout the game. Different teams might title their plays differently, but there are only so many routes that can be run. There are only so many patterns to go around. For many college football programs, the same can be said about their equipment room storage options. “It is what it is,” as the annoying statement goes, whether because of funding limitations or hemmed-in design. Doing things differently isn’t always easy, but out-of-the-box thinking can be well worth the risk.
Building on Tradition
The Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) has been playing football since 1892. The 2018 squad had a roster of 121 athletes, along with 38 staff members. “Outfitting” all those individuals with the right equipment and clothing was – and is – a big task. Managing those items falls to Tom Conner, Georgia Tech’s director of equipment operations. When he got approval and funding from university administrators to add a Spacesaver high-density compact shelving unit off the northwest corner of the locker room, modernization was paramount.
“Once we knew we were going to get the high-density unit, my assistant and I sat down and roughly designed how we wanted to use it,” said Conner. “We went back and forth a bit, and then met with Patterson Pope Sales Representative Dick Beery. He really helped us put some hard measurements to our plan. With some tweaking, he made the design work.”
For Beery, it was an opportunity to help yet another client realize their vision for their space. “Part of the role of any sales representative is to first understand what the customer wants and then provide supporting information to the client so they can make the best choices to fit their specific needs, ” said Beery. “They have an idea of what they want, but turning their goals, ideas, and thoughts into a functional design and drawing is something at which Patterson Pope excels. Patterson Pope has a proven methodology on how to convert ideas into realities. It’s about listening and validating, being thorough. It’s about maintaining higher standards, and it’s about delivering the exceptional experience.”
Prior to the renovation, the Yellow Jackets’ jerseys were hung on a simple rack affixed to a concrete wall. While some jerseys were within an arm’s reach, others were hung higher. Comfortably reaching those required a stool… along with balance and patience.
“It wasn’t a comfortable situation,” recalled Conner. “What we wanted to do with the new unit was make every uniform easily accessible. We did that with this new unit. Without all that extra effort, we may be saving only 20 minutes or so at a time, but you repeat that over and over again and it adds up. Now, it’s so much more convenient.”
New Synergies in a New Space
In a space measuring approximately 675 square feet, Conner and his team now enjoy four moveable carriages (via Mechanical Assist), along with an end stationary unit. Each one measures 10.5’ high, providing ample space for hats, shoes, jerseys, pants, along with a variety of other items.
“You can go to our white/gold uniforms and find everything you need right there in front of you,” noted Conner. “Then you can turn around and find our white/white uniforms. You can roll [one carriage] over and find all our blue/blue uniforms and then turn around and find all of our practice wear. It’s really all laid out nicely.”
An additional feature that was carefully planned for was the ability to offer a cubby/section (i.e., “locker”) for each of the 38 team staff members. That includes 11 coaches, along with coordinators, graduate assistants, ops personnel, even student assistants. All of it was planned out ahead of time in intricate detail.
“Every type of need was thought out and addressed,” added Beery. “Certainly changes can be made once they’ve got everything in there, but getting it right initially was the goal. That level of specificity was critical for what Tom and his team were trying to do. We had two or three iterations of that plan, trying to get that detail just right.”
“The way we did everything gave us the ability to be flexible. Now we can accommodate things for anywhere from 100 to 140 players,” added Conner.
“We’re so happy with the result of this install. Patterson Pope gave us everything we asked for. We knew there were going to be tweaks here and there, and there were. But overall, it’s been really ideal. Once we got the unit in, we saw that it was exactly what we wanted. The whole set-up, taken together, really creates a great look, increases efficiency and enhances productivity.”Tom ConnerDirector of Equipment Operations
“Don’t be afraid to be bold and make the design your own. A lot of people probably think that whatever they get has to be kind of cookie-cutter, but that’s definitely not the case. Take the time to draw out your ideal design, play with it, and make it happen. It’s worth the time and effort. If you want to be happy with your end result, it does make a difference.”Tom ConnerDirector of Equipment Operations
Support on the Sidelines
Adjacent to the high-density unit is a Rousseau butcher block counter top constructed not of Formica or high-pressure laminate (HPL), but of real wood. Measuring 32 inches wide and stretching 18 feet down the length of the wall, it provides both ample workspace and room enough underneath to house four travel cases. Above it, Rousseau cabinets offer a durable storage area for everything from toiletries to knives and forks, cleaning supplies and other incidentals.
“We’re so happy with the result of this install,” said Conner. “Patterson Pope gave us everything we asked for. We knew there were going to be tweaks here and there, and there were. But overall, it’s been really ideal. Once we got the unit in, we saw that it was exactly what we wanted. The whole set-up, taken together, really creates a great look, increases efficiency and enhances productivity.”
“There’s a certain way of doing things at Patterson Pope that just leads to successful projects,” said Dick Beery. “It always starts with a conversation – getting to know what a client’s challenges are and what they’re trying to achieve. In this case, Georgia Tech was able to upgrade their football equipment storage in a way that made tremendous use of the space, allows for more storage down the line, and even serves as a recruiting tool.”
Make a Bold Game Plan
Conner has one piece of sage advice for other equipment managers considering a similar renovation.
“Don’t be afraid to be bold and make the design your own,” he said. “A lot of people probably think that whatever they get has to be kind of cookie-cutter, but that’s definitely not the case. Take the time to draw out your ideal design, play with it, and make it happen. It’s worth the time and effort. If you want to be happy with your end result, it does make a difference.”
It’s all about execution.