The new STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Lab at Dartmouth Middle School is equipped with premium acoustics, low VOC building materials, a cool roof, hands-on teaching tools and flexible furniture to adapt to a variety of teaching and learning methodologies. The program features indoor and outdoor spaces that allow students to learn in a dynamic environment, which aids in the optimal success of each student and their personal learning methods. Flexible learning environments give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them and help them to work collaboratively, communicate and engage in critical thinking.
The design solution for the project was a pre-engineered modular building (from American Modular Systems) with flexible interior space that can be configured for direct instruction, small group collaboration, industry professional demonstrations and community events. The facility utilizes nanawall technology and agile furnishings to achieve these various states, and couples that technology with the use of whiteboard surfaces, touch screens and power reels. The facility has the capability to house a Tesla Model S vehicle, have the students deconstruct some of its mechanics and allow them to learn first-hand about the electric drive technology – a local industry partnership which was realized within the first week of the facility’s opening. The facility meets LEED Gold standards by the integrated use of solar tubes, shading devices, recycled materials and construction waste reduction that were perfected by the manufacturer under their own environmental processes.