The Complete Higher Education Move Guide

Colleges are complex and moving them is an equally complex subject. Not surprisingly, the words “college” and “moving” likely evoke memories of

Classroom with stage and black board

Colleges are complex and moving them is an equally complex subject.

Not surprisingly, the words “college” and “moving” likely evoke memories of hot, crowded halls where one hurriedly carries boxes up steps and into a cramped dorm room. And while move-in days are limited to late August and early September for students and parents, it is a year-round affair for the rest of the university.  Given all the services they provide, the move process for higher education institutions can be quite complicated, requiring expert assistance, planning, and tools to get everything delivered and installed safely.

Moving Laboratory Equipment

For research institutions, laboratories represent years of dedicated, life-changing work – not to mention delicate, expensive equipment. Even if just across campus, moving these pieces demands careful planning, informed by those scientists whose life work is being entrusted to movers. Because of this, the planning process should start early. Often, universities have custom-designed equipment, which subsequently needs custom crates (more on those to come) to ensure a safe move.

When Hilldrup moved the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), it took months of planning, followed by three days of packing, staging and additional prep work to secure a suitable location to unload everything, which included highly specialized, delicate equipment worth millions of dollars. Even though the HHMI lab move wasn’t on a college campus, Hilldrup move teams utilize the same methods when transporting a lab across a college campus.

Student Housing and College Moving Services

Building a new college dormitory is no small feat, especially when it needs to be ready by the start of the school year to accommodate students. Similar to laboratories, the planning process between facilities management and move professionals should begin months in advance. Even while construction is still underway, once a university has chosen its room layouts and the furniture, the work begins.

The furniture – beds, desks, and dressers – is sent directly to the moving company to be assembled. Once construction is complete, it’s similar to a residential move – simply on a much larger scale. It is safely loaded onto a truck, driven to campus, and installed in the proper room and location.

Every few years, existing dorms need a face lift, often by way of fresh paint, carpet, and furniture. In most cases, this also requires professional moving assistance. Once the school year concludes, the move team comes in to remove furniture, so the university can paint, replace flooring, and install other needed updates. After that, the moving company assembles and delivers the new furniture.

Library Relocation Services

No university is complete without a library. These facilities are often the subject of renovations or all-together new construction. Anyone who’s ever moved a box of books knows just how heavy they are, so how does a school move thousands of them, many of which are irreplaceable?

Even before any books are carefully packed away, the school and move team should develop a plan that will allow for studying and research to continue for students with as little disruption as possible. This includes routine meetings with the construction contractor, library staff and move team to determine working hours to minimize noise during peak study times, determine critical parts of the collection to which students will need uninterrupted access, and ensure all necessary safety regulations and procedures are followed.

To keep the collection safe from damage, a professional move crew will remove and pack all books for warehouse storage. Once the construction is complete, the books are then reshelved. While this might sound like a simple transition, it is extremely important to keep the hundreds of thousands of books and volumes organized while in storage so that they can be quickly unpacked and organized.

Read about how we helped move the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kathrine R. Everett Law Library here!

University Movers for Leadership

It is important that incoming staff and faculty have a stress-free and enjoyable move so they can focus on the task at hand, particularlythose in leadership positions. A big part of this is identifying a relocation partner that can assist with the full spectrum of moving needs – not just getting their belongings from Point A to Point B.

For example, the process of selling a house while also trying to buy a new one – all the while juggling the needs of family– is a tough reality facing many incoming employees. A good moving partner can review your university’s relocation policy to ensure it includes the right benefits such as real estate services, temporary living, and settling-in assistance, not to mention the moving of the household goods, all of which can greatly alleviate these common stressors.

Custom Crating Services

Colleges and universities are home to innovation, and as such, students and professors are encouraged to create things that don’t necessarily fit into your standard cardboard box, necessitating custom-built crates.

Custom crating is the process of packing something that is either too big – or often times, too unique – to move in a normal moving box. Depending on the company, there are either in-house crating teams or third-party vendors used to build the crates. During an on-site planning meeting, specific measurements and pictures are taken of the object. The images and dimensions are sent to the crating team, who then begin their work.

Typically, these crates are solid-lined wooden boxes with padding as needed. The padding consists of either Styrofoam or a custom bracing system, which helps ensure that whatever is in the crate is being transported safely. Additionally, the crates are outfitted with tilt and shock indicators, giving move teams the ability to monitor whether the crate has been dropped or jarred during the move.

College Moving Services

Like most higher education relocation projects, it is important to stick to a precise timeline to meet necessary deadlines. A good move partner will be proactive about addressing potential pitfalls throughout the process, demonstrating good communication, and asking the right questions to keep everyone on the same page and on schedule throughout the life of the move.

While there’s nothing typical about the process, one thing is for certain: it’s a big job to move a college or university, even if it’s just across campus. With that said, these moves are possible to accomplish with Hilldrup, even on a tight deadline!

In recent years, Hilldrup has helped schools like the University of Virginia, Elon University and the University of Richmond with moves like this.