Also, as many schools are unwilling to assign a lab/classroom to a single teacher, the centralized faculty office space allows all teachers to have a “home base” with a work station. Several schools, including a high school in Wildwood, MO, have provided student tables adjacent to the faculty office area so that students and teachers can meet in small groups or one-on-one in full view of the rest of the faculty. This particular school has defined the student area by surrounding it with bookshelves containing the science library. A new high school in Clackamas, OR provides a student work area in a corridor alcove immediately outside the faculty office area. These adjacencies between student space and faculty space encourage interchange between students and faculty that will not often happen when the teacher’s office space is isolated from the students.
Providing a desk and a “home base” for the teacher in the lab/classroom makes a statement: “this is Miss Jones’ classroom.” Other teachers who may share the space will feel less inclined to rearrange furniture, add posters or other relevant materials to the walls, and utilize a flexible design in the most flexible manner. Further, as mentioned elsewhere, the area required for a reasonably successful teacher work station uses about 36 square feet of space within the lab/classroom (desk, chair, file cabinet, and computer). For safety, the lab/classroom should then be made at least 36 square feet larger to accommodate this additional space. A possible alternative would be to provide desk space within an adjacent prep room as described elsewhere. A portion of the counter could be lowered to 30″, a pencil drawer and under-counter file cabinet could be provided, and power, data and telephone connections provided. A view window above the desk into the adjacent lab/classroom should be provided for supervision. The advantage to this arrangement is that it takes the “home base” out of the lab/classroom and makes it available to the teacher when the adjacent lab/classroom is being used by someone else. The disadvantages relate to the advantages of centralized faculty office space as noted above.
Your new or newly renovated science facilities will be used by your school for 25 to 50 years and require the attention of an experienced school science facilities planner and architect. To ensure that your facilities are state of- the-art and avoid the many pitfalls of under funded or inadequately planned construction, employ an expert at the earliest stages of the process: before the footprint of the facilities is defined and funding is set.