For scientists, few places are as special as an academic science lab. If you ask any scientist or researcher where their passion began, they’ll probably tell you the same thing.
Everyone started as a starry-eyed student, and their passion for studying the world around us grew from a humble school laboratory.
These rooms exist in elementary, middle, and high schools across the world. You’ll also find them in plenty of colleges and universities.
Unfortunately, many of these labs are growing outdated. The equipment is old, the storage is getting tight, and people simply can’t fit inside like they used to!
To nourish the minds of our future researchers, plenty of schools and universities are beginning to invest in updating their current laboratories.
At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve worked alongside plenty of educational institutions to create the most cutting-edge and functional academic science labs that the world has ever seen. We’re so proud of our work that we’re even willing to tell you how we do it, so join along as we walk you through how our amazing designers plan out gorgeous classroom laboratories.
How To Design a School Science Lab
One of the biggest problems with school laboratories is space.
As important as these rooms may be, they’re often cramped. You don’t have much space to work with, which means that science lab design for schools is all about maximizing your floor space.
At OnePointe Solutions, we use a wide variety of techniques to make sure every lab has plenty of room, regardless of what its function may be. We’ve worked with everything — from cleanrooms to cosmetic product testing labs — and all of that experience is put to use when we work with you.
It All Starts With Storage
One of the biggest problems that any lab has, regardless of how much space it may use, is storage space. Science isn’t exactly known for being a minimalist discipline. You need equipment and supplies to properly execute experiments, but you also need to have somewhere to put them when you’re done.
Thanks to the multifaceted nature of school labs, these spaces will have to accommodate plenty of different tools. Even the most basic of educational laboratories will need:
- Bunsen burners
- Chemical storage space
- Drying racks
- Glassware (beaker, test tubes, microscopic slides, petri dishes, and pipettes)
- Safety equipment (gloves, goggles, jackets, and so on)
- Safety stations
- Tools (forceps, scalpels, scissors, and tweezers)
In more advanced settings, such as colleges, our designers need to account for even more equipment, some of which is heavy and cumbersome. Examples of these specialized instruments include:
- Mass spectrometry equipment
- pH measurement equipment
- Water baths
To make sure that there’s enough space for all of this, science lab design for schools relies upon plenty of clever tricks and hollowed-out spaces. What may appear to be a solid island can easily contain large amounts of internal storage.
Portable stainless steel tables can be customized to include drawers and cabinets. Even basic partitions and dividers can have built-in secondary functions.
The most powerful tool that a lab designer has, however, is customization.
At OnePointe Solutions, we don’t use box-ready solutions. We create fully customized classroom cabinetry, which is specifically designed to fit into and optimize your space.
These cabinets can be easily worked around existing machinery or features, such as tight corners and odd angles.
Optimizing Working Space
After a designer has figured out where the cabinets and secure casework will be going, it’s time to start designing the workspace.
In order to do this, we work alongside laboratory owners to create accessible and adaptable solutions. Obviously, we have plenty of countertop options.
These are, after all, where you’ll be doing most of your work.
However, we also have plenty of specialized tables, which serve specific purposes. Like our dividers, partitions, and casework, our tables can be fully customized to meet your needs.
Some of our specialized work surfaces include:
- Adaptive FLEX systems
- Balance and anti-vibration tables
- ESD workbenches
- Mass spectrometry tables
- Microscope tables
To make sure that everyone has a chance to participate in scientific experiments, regardless of their shape, size, or abilities, we can also create custom fabricated versions of all of these tables.
Utilizing our wide array of accessories, we can turn any countertop, sink, or table into an adjustable and multifunctional unit. Some of the things that we can do include:
- Adding additional casework
- Adding anchoring equipment
- Adding drying racks
- Adding wheels for easy movement
- Creating adjustable height work surfaces
- Installing monitor-ready mounts
- Overhead lighting
- Suspended cabinets and drawers
Creating Safe Environments
Another consideration that designers must address when designing a school laboratory is safety.
Accidents happen. Even experienced researchers make mistakes!
Making sure that pupils are safe is essential, and it takes a skilled designer to execute that vision. In addition to ensuring that the plumbing and electrical systems are capable of handling these safety measures, designers need to know where to place them.
When designing a lab, one of the keys to true safety is making sure everyone has access to eye wash stations and showers. Someone on the opposite side of the room should be able to access the wash station as quickly as the person next to it.
Moreover, if there are multiple stations, all of them should be placed in a way that guarantees they’ll never be blocked or obstructed.
This is a challenging balancing act, and it takes a special kind of designer to properly pull it off. Fortunately, at OnePointe Solutions, we’ve worked with plenty of satisfied clients in the past, and we’ve made sure that every lab is the safest it can be.
As we build, we’ll also consider individual needs. Some laboratories are more extensive than others and include more features.
This means that additional safety measures will be needed, and designers will also need to plan around them. While fume hoods may be a ubiquitous feature in laboratories, some less common safety concerns include:
- Anti-microbial casework
- Biosafety cabinets
- Specialized HVAC systems
All of the features will need to be installed and secured before the design is complete. Moreover, they’ll need to be reliable!
To ensure these needs are met, OnePointe Solutions partners with the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association, and all of our equipment is approved by their technicians.
Need Help Designing Your Academic Science Lab?
If you’re thinking about updating your institution’s current laboratories, then it’s time to hire a professional team to realize your dream.
At OnePointe Solutions, our amazing designers and contractors work alongside you. We keep you informed at all times, and we walk you through every step of the process.
You’ll be given every option to choose from, and you’ll be given full control over the design of your space.
If you’re ready to make the laboratory of your dreams a reality, then get in touch with us! We’re more than happy to speak with you.