From top to bottom: 1) James Thomas loads in records to the new Brooksville storage site. 2) Boxes of records are scanned to pinpoint their location. 3) More than 23,000 boxes will fill the new Brooksville storage site. 4) Records will be loaded through March.
If you’ve spotted James Thomas around the Brooksville Headquarters lately, chances are he had a cardboard box in his hand.
The document specialist has been spending a good portion of his time lately loading thousands of document boxes into the District’s new records storage facility. When completed, Thomas will have the task of managing more than 23,000 boxes.
The move is an effort to save money by moving records out of an off-site storage facility managed by a third-party and into Building 3 at the Brooksville Headquarters. The switch will save the District a minimum of $200,000 a year.
But making that switch has been a complex process.
First, the building had to be prepped. Land Resources was relocated out of the building and the facility was completely cleared. Shelving was installed and the aging sprinkler system was replaced. The building windows were covered with hurricane shutters to ensure protection of the documents. Also, security for the building was increased.
“We have a lot of sensitive information in here, so access is very limited,” said Earl Rich, Document Services manager.
Next, the boxes have to be moved. The Document Services Section will be receiving a semi-tractor trailer each week of about 1,000 boxes to move and process.
“We’re doing about 1,000 boxes a week to give the staff enough time to work with the shipment and have time to recover before the next batch comes in,” Rich said.
The boxes are each marked with a bar code. They are scanned and assigned a place in the storage facility. That information is tracked so the boxes can be easily found if they need to be accessed.
Tracking those document requests will be Thomas’ primary duty. And with the average box weighing 40 pounds, Thomas expects to get a work out.
“Let’s just say I won’t have to go to the gym,” Thomas said.
Rich said Document Services pulls about 3,000 boxes a year, plus adds about 2,000 boxes. In fact, when the transition is complete, more than a million pounds of paper will be housed in the facility. The system of boxes will be so tall and massive; Thomas will be outfitted with a lighted miner’s helmet so that he can read the numbers in the inevitable shadowy aisles of boxes.
Thomas said he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s something new and different,” he said.
Though the transition required some initial set-up costs, the switch will mean big savings. The District paid about $17,000 a month to house the documents off site. And Rich said that price would only increase over time.
Rich said he expects the transition to be complete by March.