Chemicals should NOT be stored within the lab/classroom, nor should they be stored within the prep room.
A separate, lockable chemical storage room should be provided with its own ventilation system, providing approximately ten air changes per hour. Vents at the floor and at the ceiling should be included along with a “make-up air” system that brings in fresh air to replace the air that the exhaust system removes. Do not provide electrical outlets in the chemical storage room and have the switch for the room lighting mounted on the wall outside the room. If this room supplies chemicals for more than one lab/classroom, it should be centrally located and have a door to the corridor; this door should always be locked and accessible only by key.
Fume hoods are often used by students in chemistry and should be made accessible to as many students as possible. A “demonstration fume hood” which has view windows on three sides can be mounted perpendicular to a wall, thereby allowing a group of students to gather around a hood; at least five feet should be provided between adjacent hoods and hoods should not be placed near a door or window that might disturb the flow of air within the hood. Some recently constructed, movable fume hoods have impressed science safety experts with their ability to serve the needs of a school science program by recirculating air through a series of filters designed for the specific use of the program. First cost of these hoods may be as expensive as a fixed hood; however the life-cycle costs may be lower as the fan use may be significantly less and the major maintenance cost is in the periodic replacement of the filters. Flexibility of the lab/classroom can be greatly enhanced if a large area is not dedicated to fixed hoods.
Specialty spaces may be required at the high school level and should be planned to meet the needs of the specialty while remaining as flexible and multi-purpose as possible. Examples might include a genetic engineering space, complete with laminar flow hoods and grow lights, a space for an electron microscope which may require additional electric power and ventilation, or an engineering lab with access to metal fabrication equipment and power tools as well as various testing equipment.
Long-term project areas are needed to provide students with a flexible, yet secure place to develop and conduct long-term investigations and to construct apparatus using power tools. Such a space should have high ceilings, electrical power in a variety of locations, flexible lighting. Sturdy, movable tables, the ability to suspend objects from an overhead grid, a concrete or other hard-surfaced floor, water supply and drains. The space should be large enough to allow a number of student teams to conduct a variety of investigations simultaneously over several weeks, even months. Direct access to the outdoors would also be desirable. Security of the investigations and project apparatus is needed, so the space should be enclosed and lockable; however, it can also be a “selling point” to other students who might pass by and see something interesting being carried out within. Thus, one or more walls adjacent to corridors or other science spaces should be glazed.