NSSEA Trade Show in Tampa, Florida

Published: Wednesday 12 December 2012

The National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA)

Each year the NSSEA school furniture and equipment show is held in the USA. CEFPI has a long-standing association and its members are sent an email inviting them to attend. This year it was held in Tampa, Florida in November 2012 and included more than 200 exhibitors.

NSSEA is mainly a huge expo of school furniture but more equipment is coming in, including ICT and audio items. It includes a series of presentations on school building planning, research, design, and management by well-known presenters, site visits to several local schools, and a comprehensive exhibition of the CEFPI design awards mounted by Barbara Worth, so it is similar to a CEFPI conference, but the primary focus is on furniture and equipment so those attending tend to be purchasing officers, school board members and teachers.

School furniture and equipment suppliers are very keen to know the trends in school design and the expectations of purchasing officers as well as teachers and administrators so they can respond appropriately and innovate accordingly. This year there was a distinct move to providing attractive, well designed, highly mobile and adaptable, easily stored ergonomically designed, colourful, durable and affordable furniture.

Desk designs allow for a wide range of configurations and some include built in provision for ICT. Soft furnishings including floor rugs and casual chairs are included. Library furniture is still anticipating book stock, but is lower, move moveable and more colourful, but by next year we expect to see greater response to e-books and e-devices reflected in the types of furniture and equipment.

An annual highlight is the “state of the nation” address given by Deb Moore who provided an insightful and no-nonsense overview of the economy, political directions, the pressures on schools, trends that impact on school buildings in the USA, and her forecasts for the future. Deb is a former Director of CEFPI and currently is President and publisher of “School Planning and Management” and “College Planning and Management” magazines. A link to her presentation is included below.

The next NSSEA show is in San Antonio, Texas from 4-6 December 2013. The registration cost to attend is very low (about $50.00) so if you happen to be in the USA you might like to register and enjoy the generous hospitality provided.

Les Tabone from the Caroline Chisholm School, Catholic Education, Victoria and Ann Gorey from Adelaide, South Australia attended in 2012 and can provide further information.

Ann Gorey