The space-saving experts have done it again; but, this time the solution is technology driven.
Setting – Student Union Post Office
Problem – Too many student mailboxes – not enough space
Solution – TZ Package Asset Delivery
First, let’s recognize that college students operate on a very different schedule than the rest of the world. A post office, for example, operates from 8 am – 5 pm. However, college students typically operate from noon-10pm (or later!) That means a large, concentrated population is trying to accomplish a day’s worth of “real world” activities in a 5 hour window. The years have clouded my fond memories of day-to-day college life, but I distinctly remember long lines at the student union post office waiting for mail and wasting valuable study (ahem…cramming) time.
Second, we must also acknowledge that students, for the most part, receive mail twice a semester: mid-terms and final exams. Thanks for the care packages, Mom! Otherwise, college students do not have many other reasons to check their mailboxes. Whether the college is 2,000 students or 20,000 students, providing a mailbox for every single person takes up a large amount of space. The valuable square footage can be better utilized for something other than empty mailboxes.
Universities are not the only institutions that experience the same difficulties with package management and wasted space. Residential apartments are also in need of a solution. Most residents prefer to pick up their packages after work when the main office is generally closed. And designating a locker for every unit, when in reality it might only be used a few times each year, clearly eats up valuable square footage.
TZ has developed smart lockers – a mailbox that operates like a temporary locker. A UPS, FedEX, or facility staff member puts a parcel into the box and alerts the server that a package has arrived for an individual. The server then sends an email to the individual with instructions for pick up. The temporary nature of the boxes eliminates the need for one box per student or resident.
The locker systems are very easy to plan. We rely on staff feedback to select an appropriate “users to boxes” ratio. It might be 5:1 or 10:1. The lockers are standard 76”h x 24”d x 17” or 22.5”w. The unit can be configured with assorted size boxes, x-small (5”h x 13.5”w x 22.5”d), small (10”h x 13.5”w x 22.5”d), medium (16.25”h x 13.5”w x 22.5”d), and large (33.25”h x 22.5”w x 22.5”d).
The monitor must be mounted according to ADA regulations. The university or facility needs a data outlet nearby or wireless access. Finishes are available in metal or laminate. Custom configurations may be an option if engineering allows.
The result is a simple, intuitive, easy-to-use solution for providing mailbox access to more people in less space. And for us space planners, that is a beautiful concept! Next time you are designing space for students or residents, consider this one of our most simple space saving solutions.