Grantham University’s Bookstore Goes Underground

New location post Katrina provides safekeeping for textbooks, computers

BACKGROUND

Grantham University – established in 1951 – began as a traditional college with its main campus in Southern California. Grantham’s degree programs later expanded to distance education programs that serve a geographically dispersed student body. Today, Grantham University is exclusively an online university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Criminal Justice, Business Administration, Computer Science, General Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and other technology related fields.

CHALLENGE

In 1991, Grantham University consolidated its campuses into one location just outside New Orleans, Louisiana. On August 29, 2005, the university was destroyed when Hurricane Katrina demolished the Gulf Coast. It demolished over 80 percent of the university’s buildings and stripped the school of everything from computers to half a million dollars in text books. The university had already planned to open a satellite office in Kansas City, Missouri, and – in fact – had signed a lease for space in Kansas City just days before Katrina struck. So university officials quickly recruited employees to relocate to Kansas City, offering reimbursements for travel costs as well as temporary accommodations. Nearly 70 Grantham University employees packed up their belongings and took the trip to Kansas City. Once the crunch of the first few post-hurricane days was over, university officials knew they needed to quickly find additional space that was expandable, affordable and – perhaps most importantly – safe from future disaster situations.

SOLUTION

“We needed a more secure site that was better protected, which is how we stumbled upon Hunt Midwest SubTropolis,” said Joe McGrath, EVP of Grantham University. “After looking at a number of facilities, both above and underground, we found SubTropolis to be the best choice.” SubTropolis – the world’s largest underground business complex – was created through the mining of 270-million-year-old limestone deposit which holds 10,000 to 12,000 pounds per square inch, 3 times stronger than concrete. With its durable construction and the opportunity for quick and easy expansion, Grantham University officials recognized the underground was the best choice to house their most important materials, such as textbooks, computers, and other electronic equipment. Not only does SubTropolis provide the University with protection from future disasters, it also helps cut costs. SubTropolis offers lease agreements 30-50% less than above ground facilities as well as savings of 50-70% in total energy costs. SubTropolis also has nearly 5,000,000 square feet of leasable space. Therefore, as Grantham University continues to grow, Hunt Midwest is happy to accommodate the school.

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