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New Brunswick Community College

For New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), the main concern was finding furniture that would last. It had to—because money for new furniture wasn’t going to be available again anytime soon, because college students aren’t known for treading gently when studying hard, and because taxpayers expect good value.

So those charged with evaluating bids to furnish its new Allied Health Education Centre took a dim view of the bids that seemed to sacrifice long-term value for low initial cost. An independent consultant came aboard to dig into the bids and uncover the real cost of ownership. The most economical option? Herman Miller.

“When we looked at everything—warranty, quality, service, expected life span—it became clear that Herman Miller offered the best value over the life of the product,” says NBCC instructor Ray Hubble, who also served as project manager for the building.

“Herman Miller’s warranty was a deciding factor,” adds Chris Arbour, an account manager with Chandler Office Environments, a Herman Miller dealer serving Atlantic Canada. “In an industry where limited lifetime warranties are the norm—emphasis on limited—the 12-year, no-fine-print nature of Herman Miller’s warranty really stood out.”

EASY ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Situated steps away from a leading hospital, medical school, and university, the Allied Health Education Centre is ideally positioned to train the province’s next generation of healthcare workers, including respiratory therapists, lab technicians, and LPNs.

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Exterior colors on the Allied Health Education Centre match interior furnishings.

The building also incorporates next-generation smart systems for energy efficiency—temperature and lighting in all classrooms and office areas, for instance, adjust automatically as outdoor conditions change. With plans to pursue LEED certification from the start, the college scrutinized the environmental attributes of Herman Miller products throughout the specification process.

“Our proposal included LEED summaries for all products, as well as information about Herman Miller’s ecoScorecard calculator,” says Jamie Wright, division manager with Chandler Office Environments. “The college was interested in products that could demonstrate low VOCs, recyclability, and cradle-to-cradle attributes.”

It found plenty, since classrooms, faculty workstations, common areas, the staff lounge—virtually the entire building is furnished with Herman Miller products that are kind to the earth.

Most evident is the 100 percent recyclable Caper chair—more than 500 of them, mostly in classrooms and common areas. Stackable, lightweight, and specified with casters, the chairs are easy to move around or out of the way.

“We researched the virtues of flexible classrooms and social spaces and really liked the ability of Caper to support quick reconfiguration,” Hubble says.

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Translucent My Studio walls let light shine through the faculty office area.

MY STUDIO AND MIRRA

Aesthetics also played a role in the college’s furniture decisions, most notably in the workstations and work chairs chosen for faculty. The college enlisted a team of faculty members to check out the candidates—consensus emerged around My Studio Environments and Mirra chairs.

My Studio combines the feel of a private office with the benefits of an open workstation. Wrapped in translucent walls, the system looks unlike anything on the market. What’s more, it brings a roomy feel to a compact work area, while managing to provide privacy and support collaboration at once.

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Caper chairs and Everywhere tables are a classroom staple.

“Ample workspace, daylight penetration, a balance between privacy and interaction—no other product came close to My Studio in offering the workstation attributes our faculty wanted,” Hubble says.

As for Mirra, the faculty team decided it simply looked and felt better than the rest of the field. The chair’s striking aesthetics are anchored in a flexible polymer backrest pierced with hundreds of geometric shapes. Though Mirra offers ample adjustments, it also delivers passive support through every movement and posture.

“The faculty team just loved how it sat,” Hubble says. “Their seats kept coming back to Mirra.”

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Movable furniture permits quick reconfiguration in nursing labs.

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Caper chairs and stools, mobile Intersect tables, and modular Swoop lounge seating make common areas comfortable and inviting.

TAKE A TOUR

As for the rest of the building, Herman Miller turns up just about everywhere—Aside chairs in meeting rooms, SAYL chairs for receptionists and lab instructors, and Twist LED task lights in private offices.

Keep going and you’ll find two common areas that supplement Caper chairs with mobile foldaway tables from the Intersect Portfolio, as well as modular Swoop lounge seating, chosen for both its design and durability. Everywhere tables—that’s both a name and a description—are prevalent in classrooms. Lightweight and a snap to rearrange, they make it easy for students to plug in, thanks to a decision to specify them with Connect pop-up power ports.

Herman Miller alliance partners also are represented—most classroom instructors use SitOnIt’s Relay chair behind a mobile multimedia workstation. Finally, peek into the staff lounge, where Relay, Everywhere, and Swoop make another appearance.

“The college had used Herman Miller here and there in the past, but this was by far our largest purchase,” Hubble says. “Normally, our province likes to take the lowest bid. In this case, we were able to demonstrate that the lowest total cost was a better way to go.”

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