Warhawks score with Spacesaver

NCAA Division III champs overhaul their equipment room with Spacesaver’s high-density compact shelving.

T he space was overcrowded and disorganized. Helmets, shoulder pads, uniforms, and field practice equipment were overflowing into aisleways, or placed onto carts that blocked other storage areas.

In addition to these actively used items, old uniforms and various University of Wisconsin Whitewater apparel for summer camps, coaches’ gear, and donations also needed to be stored in the space. There was even old equipment that should have been discarded, tucked away on shelves or hidden in cabinets.

The athletes and staff needed to completely re-think their football team equipment storage.

Their local Spacesaver consultant helped the team save time, take better care of equipment, and boost team pride.

A company close to home

Existing shelving and storage was old, made of wood and permanently installed (fixed), with no adjustable shelves or movable units. Each cabinet was locked with a separate key and it took over two hours to unlock the cabinets, pull the appropriate uniforms and equipment and then re-lock all the cabinets to secure the equipment. The lack of adjustability was also frustrating, since it was hard to meet the needs of the growing football program or keep the team organized.

UW-Whitewater equipment manager at the time, Luke Groth, began to explore alternate storage solutions for the space that could get the team (and the equipment) more organized.

“Spacesaver has a great reputation across college athletics,” said Mr. Groth, “What they have done for other programs is outstanding and is what attracted UWW to Spacesaver.”

His familiarity with Spacesaver, plus the school’s proximity to the manufacturing facility (the Spacesaver manufacturing facility and offices are only 10 minutes away) helped steer him towards the Spacesaver approach.

“Spacesaver has a great reputation across college athletics. What they have done for other programs is outstanding and is what attracted UWW to Spacesaver.”

~ Luke Groth, Equipment Manager

An extensive space analysis was completed by John Butler of Storage Systems Midwest, the authorized Spacesaver Representative in Wisconsin, and a Wheelhouse® High-Density Mobile Storage System with custom end panels was selected. Stationary 4-post shelving, under counter storage cabinets and drawers, and WRX Wheels® Transport System carts were also incorporated into the design. 

The Wheelhouse high-density mobile system houses most of the athletic equipment like helmets, uniforms, and shoulder pads and is secured with one locking mechanism for the entire unit. This makes securing expensive equipment much easier than in the past and has resulted in huge time savings for the current equipment manager.

Special storage compartments within stationary 4-post shelving units were designed for balls, towels, and frequently accessed gear that did not need to be secured.

An additional storage unit outfitted with locking drawers features compartments for many small repair items, and a locking receding door for a stereo receiver that pipes music throughout the building. Two different counters serve as work areas with storage below, which the staff uses to make repairs to equipment; previously they had only one desk to use
as workspace.

“John Butler did an outstanding job with the layout and installation of the equipment room,” said Mr. Groth. “His passion for what he does definitely showed throughout the whole process.”

Spacesaver Corporation also provided a few options for the custom end panels. With the school’s input, the custom decal was designed and ordered through Storage Systems Midwest and produced and installed by Jim Greeley Signs.

The local Spacesaver design consultant provided valuable insights during the design process.

Saving time and protecting gear

Today, the space is used much more effectively. Players and staff are now able to store bulky football equipment, supplies, and clothing neatly and appropriately within their Spacesaver Storage System.

“This season we didn’t have anywhere near as many shoulder pads that needed to be reconditioned, and I know part of the reason is because now they are stored correctly,” said Tim Baldry, current equipment manager for UW-Whitewater Football.

Because the mobile system has only one locking mechanism to open and close, the pre-game process of pulling gear and uniforms that used to take over two hours now takes under 45 minutes. This process is also made more efficient through use of the WRX Wheels cart that is used to haul jerseys, socks and shoes from the equipment room to the locker room.

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A Point of Pride

Not only has there been measurable time savings as a result of the new storage systems being installed, there has been a renewed sense of pride and excitement about the space. Before, the recruitment process did not involve a look at the equipment room. Now the tour takes potential athletes and students right into the space where they can see team pride displayed prominently on the storage system, and understand the care put into storing and maintaining team equipment.

“Instead of zipping right through, now it is a point of emphasis,” said Mr. Baldry.

The Warhawk Football storage solution has been such a success for the team that several other departments have selected Storage Systems Midwest to provide solutions for their storage needs using Spacesaver products. Custom Spacesaver lockers have already been purchased for the newly renovated men’s and women’s National Championship Wheelchair Basketball (NWBA) team locker rooms.

“The confidence and pride our players and coaches have in the new Spacesaver system is truly remarkable,” said Mr. Groth.

“The great flexibility that these different types of storage systems provide has allowed our equipment manager to adjust and continue to improve the facility,” said UW-Whitewater Head Football Coach, Lance Leipold.

“The confidence and pride our players and coaches have in the new Spacesaver system is truly remarkable.”

~ Luke Groth, Equipment Manager