For you and me, moving is a difficult experience. For an organization like WVNET, it would be a logistical nightmare. A nightmare, mind you, that could be accomplished, but a nightmare nonetheless.
In an earlier post on WVNET, I referenced logistical challenges if WVNET were to move from its current location, as well as significant costs associated with such a move. Why is that?
- When you and I make a move, we generally pack everything, shut down for a while, and make our move. That would not be possible for WVNET. Can you imagine what would happen if no public education teacher or legislator could send an email or access the internet for days? If colleges could not register students or offer online instruction? If the state court system could not hold online hearings? The number of complaints directed at WVNET, higher education system offices, the governor’s office, and others would be astronomical, and WVNET would receive front-page news coverage, just not the kind WVNET would like. WVNET has a backup generator, tested regularly, that kicks on almost instantly when it loses power to prevent even minimal down-time much less this kind of down-time.
- Moving WVNET also is not as simple as packing up a few desks, chairs, computer monitors and hard drives and some old papers and office supplies and loading them on a moving truck. Millions of dollars worth of equipment are sitting in WVNET’s machine room right now. Much of that equipment was assembled onsite and is highly vulnerable to damage if moved. Although there are maintenance agreements for much of that equipment, the provisions of those agreements would not apply to damage caused during a physical move like that being proposed.
So how would you orchestrate such a move?
- In a perfect world with unlimited resources, you would buy all new equipment and allow WVNET to transfer systems one by one over a period of days, weeks and months. But re-outfitting a facility like WVNET from scratch probably would be prohibitively expensive and wipe out all or most of the money it would receive from the sale of the property.
- More likely, WVNET would be expected to make the move at the least cost possible. This probably would mean buying some equipment where there would be no other way to facilitate a move; renting equipment like a power generator until the current generator could be relocated in the last step of the move; disassembling very expensive pieces of equipment, packing them, moving them, and reassembling them, probably with assistance from some of the vendors from whom the equipment was purchased (there, of course, would be a bill for that); and making major portions of the move between midnight to 6 AM on Sunday mornings over a period of weeks or months. (The adult student trying to complete her online coursework during this time would just have to suffer.) During the period of the move, WVNET would incur dual costs for many items.
- The worst job in all of this probably would be that of the move coordinator. The move coordinator would have to go down the WVNET services and equipment list item by item and figure out how to orchestrate a move for each item while minimizing both costs and disruption. The Gantt chart developed to accomplish this move would go on for pages and pages.
- The monetary aspects of the move also would be problematic. Typically the transfer of funds from buyer to seller does not occur until the time of closing after a move of this size and scope has been accomplished. From where is the money going to come to orchestrate this move before Mylan Pharmaceuticals pays for the property? As a state agency, WVNET can’t simply go to its local bank and get a loan.
- And let’s not forget all of the problems that arise during a simple move. Workers packing instead of working. Broken and missing items. Movers not where they should be when they should be. Packing and unpacking that takes longer than expected.
- And we’re not done yet. There is a lot of telecommunications fiber going into the area where WVNET is located because of what WVNET and its neighbors do. As a result, WVNET cannot move just anywhere. It must move to a place where a whole lot of fiber is located and/or can be located. If not, you’re talking more time and money.
Several years ago, WVNET staff made an initial pass at calculating some of the costs associated with moving. I do not remember precisely what those numbers were, but they were staggering. I hope this helps you understand why I have been laughing at what I have been reading. Even I could not pull off the sprezzatura needed for this project.