Case Study: Southern Columbia Area School District, PA

Southern Columbia Area School District (SCASD) logo

A labor-intensive and slow paper-based system. No centralized data. A limited budget requiring an affordable, easy-to-use solution.

To address these and other issues relating to its current paper-based system, Southern Columbia Area School District (SCASD) (PA) considered a number of possible solutions, including ML Schedules™ K12 Facility Request Software.

Even small districts deserve big solutions

As a rural school district with approximately 1,400 students residing in seven municipalities spread over two counties, the Southern Columbia Area School District plays a vital role in uniting the students and residents of its 108 square-mile footprint. Yet, the relatively small student population translates into a modest operating budget that needs to be leveraged as much as possible to get the most bang for every buck.

"Cost was definitely a factor we weighed," Paul explained. "We considered other facility scheduling products that had name recognition but they were too expensive. ML Schedules™ Software offered the most cost-effective solution among the products we reviewed."

In addition to labor and time savings, the ability to securely access and manage all Facility Request data in one place (the cloud) was an important benefit of any automated system. As Secretary to the Superintendent/Board Secretary Tresa Britch described, "While individual buildings have calendars, many of our coaches never filled out Facility Requests--they just assumed they had use of the buildings. And we (central administration) never had a good handle on who was using our gyms and athletic fields especially for spring and fall sports. It was very difficult to manage."

Another deciding factor was ease of use. "Once we had some orientation using the software, we found it fairly easy to use and we liked that, as Tresa and I were going to be the ones managing the 'back end' of the program," Paul noted. "We also wanted a user-friendly system that could be easily learned by the approvers and facility-request users in order to facilitate its use. We were confident that ML Schedules™ would meet this criteria."

Turning wish lists into reality

To some degree, Paul and Tresa were betting on the new kid on the block as ML Schedules™ Software had only been in existence for about two years, and had no Pennsylvania district accounts. However, the software's account services staff contributed to the purchasing decision, as Paul explained. "We were impressed with their knowledge of the program and the clear and concise answers they provided to our questions. These interactions instilled confidence in ML Schedules™ and its staff, and made our decision to take the plunge and invest in the program much easier."

One of the advantages of dealing with a relatively new product offered by a small company was responsiveness; while both Paul and Tresa liked the software and its capabilities, there were a number of important features they felt could enhance the product. "We appreciated the ability to provide new feature suggestions," Paul explained. "During the decision-making process, we had realized that we were getting in on the ground floor and that there may be opportunities to customize the program. The timing was right for our District."

Specific suggestions provided by the district included:

  • Ability to show public calender view of events
  • User Default Provider
  • Tables/Chairs & Other Equipment fields
  • Personnel fields & additional costs
  • Monthly recurring Reservations
  • 15-minute reservation increments
  • Group Classifications
  • Ability for Admin to Edit Date/Time of Event after reservation is made
  • Allow Reservation Manager to "Copy Event for Another Group" on Approved Events
  • Allow User to Cancel their own requests
  • Revenue and other reports

"Everything on our list got implemented!", Tresa exclaimed. For its part, ML Schedules™ Software benefited with real-world improvements that can now be used by other district accounts.

Smooth implementation and a fast start on savings

Onboarding and implementation went "very smoothly," according to Tresa. "Myself and another colleague in the Athletic Department who manages the practice and game schedules, transferred this information into ML Schedules™. It went pretty smoothly and wasn’t really time consuming."

The district went live with ML Schedules™ Software in early January of 2016. "The first couple of staff members to use it wrote back and said they loved it!", Tresa noted. "It was really easy to use. With all the people we talked to, we only had one or two people who had any issues, and they were very minor in nature."

After four continuous months of use, the district is already seeing results. "Without a doubt there’s definitely a time savings," Paul noted. "During the first four months of implementation we’ve had nearly 700 events and management is instantaneous. We save a minimum of 10 – 15 minutes for each request and more than that on many events."

Tresa’s time is also "much better" spent now that she doesn't have to manage a paper- and labor-intensive process. "It's nice to have it all in one place so when someone does have a question, I have the answer a click of the mouse away."

About MasterLibrary™ Software

MasterLibrary™ Software has been developed over the past 20 years to improve efficiency and collaboration among the diverse professional construction disciplines that interact with a facility project from plan and design through construction and maintenance.

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Submit a Facility Use Request in 30 seconds or less

New Features fresh from our blog site

New “Additional Charges” fields available to apply to Facility Use Requests
(12/6/2017) Have you ever wanted to apply an Additional Charge to a submitted Facility Use Request without having to setup a custom field in ML Schedules™ Software? With our new Additional Charge feature, District Admins can easily create an Additional Charge category ...

Move a canceled Facility Use Request back to Pending status
(11/22/2017) ML Schedules™ Software now provides the ability to reactivate canceled Facility Use Requests and return them to Pending status. This new feature is especially helpful when a Facility Use Request has been cancelled due to expired or non-existent Group insurance ...

New ML Schedule™ Default Approval Paths by Building make system setup easier than ever
(9/15/2017) ML Schedules™ K12 Software makes it easier than ever to setup sites and spaces with a new Default Approval Path by Building feature for submitted Facility Use Requests. Here’s how it works: The District Admin enters a default approval path ...

Here’s what school districts around the USA are saying…

“MLSchedules™ Software has streamlined the building use request process for our district. Requests that used to take minutes to process now take seconds. That's a big deal when you think about the volume of requests that we receive in a school year. The software is as convenient for the people making requests as it is for the people processing them. Emails are generated any time a request is acted on. A requester can see their request in our building use calendar the instant it is approved. I have used both paper requests and electronic form requests in the past. I couldn't imagine ever going back now that I've seen what ML schedules can do."
- Jason Czarny, Director of Athletics, Onondaga Central School District, NY