One of the goals of the school of architecture at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte is to help students “apply strategic thinking to environmental problems.” It was therefore only natural that when the school needed a new set of work desks, the students should take part in the selection process.

“Our existing desks had worn out their welcome,” says Ken Lambla, dean of the university’s college of arts and architecture. “The old desks were custom-designed and custom-made when we first occupied our building in 1991. They may have been sufficient then, but today they didn’t offer the kind of flexibility the students’ work demanded. Not only were the dimensions and ergonomics insufficient, but they were lacking in many key areas of functionality: no power supplies, no wheels for mobility, inadequate display surface, and serious storage limitations.”

Ultimately, after consulting with a student-run focus group and putting the project out for bid, the college replaced more than 200 of its old desks with a set of Arlink workstations from industrial workbench and cabinet manufacturer Lista International Corp.

According to Rich Preiss, the school’s director of laboratories, the school chose the Arlink workbenches because they were rugged, functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Lambla adds that Lista was also very responsive in terms of meeting the school’s particular needs.

“Being architects, we’re pretty detail driven,” he says. “We needed a company that was going to work with us on the exact details of fabrication as it relates to the experience we’ve had over the last 15 years. Lista brought a lot of knowledge to the table and demonstrated an ability to create custom application-specific solutions.”

Lambla adds that the company was able to work within a narrow time frame, another reason the college went with the Arlink desks.

“We needed somebody who could supply these workbenches within a very tight window of time-about eight weeks to be exact. This included about one week for delivery and installation,” he says. “At the university level, we call the money that’s left over from the annual budget ‘one-time money.’ This is what we were working with, and if we didn’t use it by the given deadline, we’d lose it. Fortunately Lista came through, not only on time, but with completely assembled products. Many of the other bidders were delivering only parts. Lista provided a ready-to-use solution.”

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