Limestone College Manages 100-Year-Old Records and Creates Room to Grow
Established in 1845, Limestone College is a unique landscape of history and progress. Ten buildings on campus are on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Administration Building has been home to 128,000 paper Registrar records, some of which are at least 100-years-old.
The college has recently experienced explosive growth due to their popular night school programs and internet courses. With increasing demands and more student applications, Limestone was looking for space to grow.
However, the only space they had left was the third floor of the Administration Building, where all the old Registrar records were stored. The problem has been solved.
Since implementing a Digitech Systems Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, Limestone College is managing all Registrar Office archives electronically and making room for more students and faculty. Plus, they have enhanced disaster recovery to better protect their history.
Limestone College (www.limestone.edu) is an independent, coeducational four-year liberal arts institution located in Gaffney, SC. They also have seven other evening class centers throughout the state. As the largest private accredited institution in South Carolina, Limestone has cultivated a rich history and has the documents to prove it. “Not only are the buildings large parts of our history, the documents are too. They are a paper trail of time and memories that must be protected as permanent records,” explained Adam Long, Associate VP for Information Technology. Since the Administration Building was erected in 1835, it has only partially been modernized with heating and air conditioning. For years, more than 475 boxes of old Registrar records were stored in a wing that had never been renovated. In addition to the age of the records, the atmospheric conditions were causing the documents to deteriorate.
Plus, the sheer weight of the stacked boxes was becoming a safety and engineering concern. Retrieving documents was also troublesome.
Ten employees from the Business and Registrar Offices had to brave the elements to find student records. Combined, they spent five hours each week retrieving documents, wasting a total of 250 hours per year. Limestone needed to manage their permanent records electronically in order to clear out storage space, gain productivity and save staff time and energy. More importantly, they required a solution that would not drain their limited IT resources and would provide a proven disaster recovery strategy.
Limestone worked with Advanced Imaging Systems (AIS), a Digitech Systems reseller, to find a solution. “We were impressed with PaperVision Enterprise because it didn’t require a lot of IT resources. AIS helped us realize that our endeavor was feasible and affordable,” said Long.
In January of 2007, the college implementedPaperVision Enterprise. Installation took just two hours and was a smooth, painless process thatdidn’t overwhelm the IT department. AIS picked up the boxes, scanned over 128,000 documents and delivered them to Long in CD format. According to Long, “It’s a turn-key solution. It just takes a few minutes each week to upload documents from the CDs to PaperVision Enterprise. Training 10 people was so easy that I didn’t even have to go to their offices. I showed their supervisor how it works and they, in turn, showed their subordinates. The software is intuitive and user friendly; therefore, I never get calls asking how to use it. I can’t imagine a simpler solution to manage.”
Today, Limestone has increased efficiency by 250 hours per year.
The Registrar’s Office now has instant access to all 128,000 records, which are available at the click of a button. Through a Wide Area Network, employees even have remote access to the documents from any satellite campus. As a result, students that request records are now able to receive them right away, instead of waiting.
“This is a welcome change from having to brave the cold, heat and humidity to search for documents. The amount of time it takes to open the application and find a file is amazingly fast—no more running from office to office,” said Long.
The ECM system is helping Limestone expand in many ways. All 475 boxes were removed from the Administration Building, making room for 10 new faculty and staff offices. In addition to physical expansion, the ECM technology usage and benefits are growing too. Employees in the Financial Aid, Business Office, Nurse’s Office and the Student Development Office are also using the system to manage documents, enhance efficiency and ensure information security.
“The ECM system is selling itself,” said Long. “Managers recognize that it can help with compliance. They don’t have to worry about security, because the system settings take care of it for them.”
Although the school has never faced a serious natural disaster, they now have a concrete way of protecting their information in the event of one. In addition to Limestone’s own protected data storage on campus, AIS stores a backup copy of their CDs in a fireproof facility. In the future, Limestone will expand the PaperVision Enterprise suite with PaperVision® Enterprise WorkFlow, an add-on component that will enable them to further increase productivity by automating document-centric processes.
Employees will be able to route documents instantly so they never have to be printed or stored in a file cabinet. “I don’t think we will be paperless anytime soon, but we’re one step closer,” said Long. “The ECM system enables us to save time and increase efficiency, but most importantly, it empowers us to better manage and preserve our history.”