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High school|

A popular science center learns how to expand their use of PaperCut

Cutting to the chase


The center’s printing operations were cumbersome and lacked visibility.


PaperCut makes it easy for students and teachers to print what they need.


Better reporting, better budgeting, reduced waste, and plans to expand.

The Discovery Center of Springfield is a nonprofit, science center dedicated to inspiring curiosity through hands-on experiences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Located in Springfield, Missouri, the center has been open to the public full-time since 1998. Spread across its 60,000-foot exhibit space are over 300 interactive exhibits that demonstrate science, technology, art, history, and culture in entertaining and educational ways. The center runs a STEM school that’s Pre-K through eighth grade, hosts school groups throughout the year, and operates a robust outreach program that serves 33 US states and six countries.

The center is the only youth activity center in Southern Missouri that offers such a wide range of exhibits, hands-on activities, special events, and programs exploring a broad spectrum of educational goals.

We’ve expanded it from just ‘we need to be able to print from Chromebooks’ to using PaperCut as a tool for cost control."

- Hunter Bartelt,

Director of Operations, Discovery Center of Springfield, Missouri


Hunter Bartelt is the Director of Operations for the Discovery Center and reveals that they’ve been using PaperCut for just two months but are delighted by the results. “We primarily use it for our school operations. We have students and teachers on a variety of devices that need to print. Our biggest hurdle was that our Chromebooks can’t run the correct drivers for our printers, so they really struggle to print, especially in color, if they have complex settings like collation and so on. So that was a huge problem for us last school year – it was a constant pain point for our teachers. They ended up sending all the things they needed printed to an administrator, and that administrator was then printing them and delivering them, and it was very operationally inefficient. So, we use PaperCut to basically help alleviate that source of pain.”


Hunter had previously worked at Missouri State University, where he was first introduced to PaperCut. “The university used PaperCut to control cost centers. We had our individual accounts for personal printing, and we had department accounts for work-related printing. I remembered how well it had solved that problem for the university, so I looked at what other solutions PaperCut offered. After working out which product would be right for us, and evaluating a couple of alternatives on the market, we went with PaperCut NG.

PaperCut is connected to just two printers, but Hunter is already seeing a reduction in waste. “We’re very environmentally conscious and have recycling programs in place and so on. We’ve created a virtual print credit system that shows our teachers how much each page costs to print. It’s not that they have to pay, it just makes them aware of ‘oh this is how much a color page costs’ and we’ve seen a reduction in the number of pages being printed.


In addition to the ease of connecting all kinds of devices to the printers and a reduction in waste, PaperCut has provided the center with another valuable benefit. Hunter explains, “Once we got it up and running, we saw what detailed reporting it can do and how that can impact cost control. We lease our printers and get billed per page on them, so now we have the data that will let us predict what the lease cost is going to be before it hits us at the end of the month. It makes it much easier to budget for.”

Although the system was brought in to be used primarily by the teachers, it’s now been expanded to serve the administrative team as well. “Our school administrator started using it for her printing, and it was much easier than her fiddling with the settings on her computer. And she got more consistent prints where previously, perhaps, only half her prints would go through. And then our Director of Administration saw me pulling a report to give to our school administrator and she said ‘hey, can I do that for everyone?’ So, we started transitioning everyone over to make it easier to keep track of costs.”

On top of that, all the staff like the fact that they can now send things to the printer from off campus now, using PaperCut’s Find-Me printing, which stores the job in a virtual print queue ready to be released when the person is at the printer.

With his printing problems sorted, Hunter can get back to the much more fun parts of his job, “Right now, we’re building a 3D printed Mars Rover. We’re pretty excited about that.”