“We are caught up,” declared Travis Rogers, former AISD warehouse manager. Rogers, who retired at the end of August after 33 years with the AISD, and his staff had a huge job this summer, playing an often unnoticed but critical role in implementing changes related to the 2014 Bond package. As schools consolidate, move or close, it’s the warehouse staff that move all the furniture and supplies in those buildings. “We move everything,” Rogers said. “It’s just a lot of logistics, moving things around and supplying.”
The bond-related tasks for the summer included emptying Hutcheson Junior High before its demolition (Hutcheson is consolidating with Workman Junior High), moving Ferguson Junior High to Ousley Junior High (where the two schools are consolidating) and relocating Newcomer Center and Venture High School to the building that formerly housed Ferguson Junior High. (The building is now called Ferguson Education Center.)
Rogers first met with all the principals and established a packing system. Teachers tagged everything they wanted moved to their new location with their name, the destination school and the room number. Anything not tagged was assumed to be unwanted and the warehouse crew moved it to storage for other uses.
Rogers and his staff got a head start before school even let out, making regular truck runs to Hutcheson and Ferguson in May to move anything the schools didn’t need in the last few weeks of school. Once school was out, it was full speed ahead. They first emptied Hutcheson so preparations for demolition could begin as soon as possible. Within about two weeks, everything was out and either moved to its new location at Workman Junior High or into storage. Then they turned their attention to Ferguson Junior High and had that emptied and moved in about a week. Finally the warehouse crew moved Newcomer Center and Venture High School to their new location at Ferguson Education Center.
Under normal operations, the warehouse department runs two units of trucks. One is the daily delivery service, which comprises four staff who drive one-ton cutaway trucks and operate like UPS or FedEx. They provide ground service to each school with supplies on a daily basis. The other unit has five drivers who operate three-ton bobtail trucks and primarily do all the big furniture moving and handle large supply orders. But both units were needed to handle the large volume of moving furniture this summer and extra help was brought in from the AISD transportation, food service and custodial departments. “The custodial staff has been a wonderful addition to helping us,” Rogers said as he emphasized how important the additional workers were.
What most people do not realize, Rogers explained, is that in addition to moving the schools, his department still had all of their regular tasks to accomplish. These include a wide range of functions, including delivering supplies, receiving all district supplies at their loading dock, filling requisitions (taking ordered supplies from the warehouse to schools), handling work orders at schools (e.g., moving a teacher from one school to another, shifting classrooms, etc.), maintaining the maintenance parts counter, picking up salvage at schools and operating the on-premise laundry. (The warehouse department launders all district athletic uniforms, towels, pads and gear, along with providing pick up and delivery.)
It was truly an extra busy summer. Rogers said it reminded him of a summer back in the mid-90s. There had been a large bond package and the district was converting a number of open-concept schools by adding walls to create traditional classrooms. The warehouse department’s role was to move all the furniture out of the way for construction. That furniture could stay on campus though – it just had to be shifted around. The difference this summer is that all the furniture had to be moved to other buildings. “It required a lot of truck work and a ton of travel time,” Rogers said.
But the summer bond jobs are now finished. The final few weeks of summer were a little hectic, Rogers admitted with a smile, as his and other departments pulled everything together in time for school to start. But every year we get it done, he added. “These guys do a wonderful job over here keeping this stuff moving,” Rogers said about his staff. “I’m very proud of those guys.”