ISU Surplus finds temporary home in central receiving facility

ISU Surplus will ring in the new year in a new location. By Jan. 1, the university's asset recovery and redistribution service will relocate to the south end of the central receiving facility at 925 Airport Rd. It will vacate the north half of the university warehouse facility at 1102 Southern Hills Dr., where it has operated since 2007. The final public sale in that location is Wednesday, Nov. 16. A Nov. 30 public auction is intended to drastically reduce inventory prior to the move.

In October, the state Board of Regents approved the university's request for a 10-year lease with the ISU Research Park for the entire warehouse. It will be used by research park tenant Merck and Co., which had been leasing the south half of the building. Last year, Merck purchased Ames-based Harrisvaccines. The building is valuable to Merck because it has been licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Director of logistics and support services Norm Hill said his team is hopeful that the move proves to be temporary. He said plans for a new building near the central receiving site are being developed.

"We're committed to making this work," he said. "We'll continue to focus on serving departments and redistributing assets. Our service level won't drop."

What changes

Its temporary location in the central receiving facility measures roughly one-third that of its current space, said ISU Surplus supervisor Mark Ludwig. That will force him to display a little less variety and perhaps fewer computers and pieces of furniture, which require more space than other items. The sale room will look and feel "more streamlined," he said.

In the new location, the Wednesday public sale will double in length, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with the goal of easing congestion and creating a better environment for customers. Hours for the Tuesday departmental sale (10 a.m.-noon) won't change.

"We'll make adjustments as we go, finding the right mix of items and adjusting to the crowds," Ludwig said.

What doesn't change

Hill said timely service and a commitment to the university's sustainability goals won't change.

"We don't like to landfill things. Our goal is to sell our way out," he noted.

With less space for inventory, he said he anticipates they may have to pursue recycling options more frequently. He also anticipates more sales on the government deals website, and sales of larger items in their departmental locations via a bid process.

"We are so aware that we need to be efficient in getting items out of departments so they can repurpose their space," Hill said.

What's ahead

Here's a quick look at the next few months in ISU Surplus:

  • Nov. 15-16: Last department and public sales in the current location
  • Nov. 22-23: No sales
  • Nov. 30: Liquidation auction of remaining merchandise (5 p.m., doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
  • December: No sales; ISU Surplus still is operating
  • Jan. 3-4, 2017: First department and public sales in the new location