Furnishing help at workforce center saves taxpayers money

Duncon Rowley
Duncan Rowley

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A Grand Junction business helped orchestrate an effort to refurbish office furniture for the new Mesa County Workforce Center, saving taxpayers a hefty chunk of money in the process.

“I turned out nice. I think it was good for everyone,” said Duncan Rowley, president and chief executive officer of Office Outfitters & Planners.

The firm played a key role in a project to obtain surplus furniture from the Department of Energy, reupholster the work stations with new fabric and install the stations in the newly constructed building in Grand Junction housing the workforce center.

Rowley estimated the effort saved Mesa County about $234,000 over what it would have cost to install new work stations. “It saved them the resources, and that’s a really cool thing.”

Office Outfitters found out about the used furniture as part of its work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. The company installed 535 work stations at the facility in one of the largest projects of its kind in Colorado. “We’ve got a really good relationship with those folks,” Rowley said.

As part of a consolidation, surplus furniture was left behind on two floors of a building vacated by the Department of Energy at its Golden office, he said.

Rowley said he knew office furniture would be needed for the new workforce center, so staff from Office Outfitters and administrators from the workforce center and Mesa County went to Golden to evaluate whether or not the used furniture there might meet their needs.

After determining the furniture would work, the work stations were transported in eight truck loads to Grand Junction. The overhead storage bin doors and privacy panels of the stations were reupholstered with new fabric purchased directly from C.F. Stinson, a supplier with which Office Outfitters works. And 84 refurbished stations were installed at the new workforce center.

The county paid about $61,000 to transport, reupholster and install the workstations. But that’s about $234,000 less than what it would have cost to purchase new workstations of comparable quality, Rowley said.

There was an added benefit in “upcycling” the used furniture rather than hauling it to a landfill, he added.

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