Daily Archives: May 9, 2017

CLEARING UP the Science Lab Misconception !

I saw a question on FB about science labs again today so please allow me to clear this up.

Last Wednesday morning on 980 WCAP the City Manager was very clear that people who claimed that the School Building Committee changed the Education Plan and size of the Science Labs are 100% inaccurate.

The Labs sizes are specified in the ED Plan and have NOT changed according to the Manager so I did a quick check and he is correct. The Breakdown which can be found on the City of Lowell LHS Website in the ED Plan on page 12 from the very beginning has stated:

A total of 28 labs, 20 being full-sized 1440 sf and 8 being Integrated Science classrooms at 1000sf are proposed. 2 of the 20 are for Health and Bioscience as previously noted. All 20 large labs will have 200sf of Prep/Storage space, typically grouped in two’s as 400sf, and (2) additional Prep/Storage rooms are provided for the Freshman/Maker Space. (1) Chemical Storage and a Growing Room are also provided.

What has people questioning changes is the MSBA letter dated April 5th which asked this question:

Provide explanation regarding science labs, utilization and scheduling. Why are eight limited to 1,000 nsf? How will these be outfitted differently? Also, when referenced in the rest of the educational plan, is a standard sized science room 1,440 or 1,000 sf ?

The City’s response which comes from a combination of School Dept. and City representatives including Skanska and Eastman personal was this:

Standard sized (1440sf) science labs are planned for 10th-12th grades. 9th Grade students participate in a more generalized science curriculum that utilizes classroom space rather than full-service labs. The 9th grade rooms are proposed as wetclassrooms (1,000sf) to be outfitted with perimeter counters, movable tables and sinks, but do not include fume hoods, gas service and prep or chemical rooms. The curriculum is introductory-based instruction, focused on theory and virtual tasks and is aligned with current and future objectives. Freshman also utilize a pull-out Maker Space for larger project work and STEM oriented activities.The programming excerpts below show a consolidated tally of science courses (freshmen vs grades 10th-12th +ELL), prorated for the new design enrollment, with the necessary sections (34 for freshman, 99.5 +15 for grades 10th-12th +ELL) to maintain class size averages (approx. 24, with ELL at approx. 20). Science classes meet 5 times/cycle (totaling 170 for freshman, 572.5 for grades 10th-12th +ELL) that are divided by the available sessions/cycle to tabulate the teaching stations needed (4.86 freshman and 16.36 for 10th-12th +ELL if 100% utilized).

To further confuse the situation,if you look at the document titled MSBAPDPSubmission full (3416 pages) that shows “rough” schematics of what the floor plan could look like at each site, for the existing downtown location pages 2791-2792-2794 shows the science labs that match the Ed Plan but if you view pages 2851-2853-2854 which is the Cawley schematics you don’t see the 8 Science rooms at 1,000SF all science labs appear to be the full 1440sf

These are just preliminary plans and schematics. These are not and were never intended to be “Final” plans but this adds to the confusion.

To be very clear the School Building Committee did NOT change the Education Plan for the Science Labs.

However you could ask why when the MSBA recommends 1440 sf for Science Labs the Ed Plan would support 8 smaller versions?