Designing science accommodation in schools – support areas
The purpose of these areas is to support the practical work taking place in laboratories. They are for the preparation, maintenance and repair of equipment and materials and for the disposal of materials when they are finished with. As such, they are for the use of science technicians (and science teachers who are preparing or practising practical activities) with administration facilities focused on the support of practical work. Other management and administrative functions, social and refreshment activities, should be catered for in other spaces.
For detailed information on prep room design click HERE.
- Chemicals: A separate, secure storeroom for hazardous chemicals is essential. It should open into the prep room and be separately ventilated.
- Radioactives: Radioactive sources must be stored in a metal cupboard within a secure storeroom. This storeroom is usually one used mainly for general equipment or paper resources.
- Other storerooms: These will be needed for gas cylinders, general equipment, paper, textbooks, ICT equipment, Most of these will need to be secure as a protection from theft or damage. Some equipment (eg vacuum glassware, high voltage equipment) will also need additional security for health and safety reasons.
All stores should be easily accessible from the prep room(s) and the laboratories.
Management, administration and individual staff work spaces – Proper provision for these functions will promote higher standards of leadership and morale. It will also ensure that the laboratories and prep room(s) are able to function safely as practical areas.
Social and Refreshment
Newer designs for schools include distributed provision for social and refreshment areas for staff; sometimes also for pupils. These areas may be specially designed, separate areas, or part of the management/administration areas. It is better to plan and design these as part of the vision for the science area, rather than let them grow up within the science department as they will inevitably do.
Staff are entitled to toilet provision within easy reach of their teaching areas. Distributed provision for pupils is an increasing trend and can mean that pupils take better care of the facilities. Toilets for the disabled should also be easily accessible from science areas.
Storage of cleaning equipment should be entirely separate to science accommodation, including science stores.