Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)
Collaboration, Furniture Make the Difference
The Carlyle Computer Lab At Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School benefitted greatly from design help and through the use of innovative furniture from SMARTdesks.
Following a dedication and blessing, the Carlyle Computer Lab opened its doors at Don Bosco Cristo Rey (DBCR) High School and Corporate Work Study Program of Takoma Park, Md. Furniture manufacturer SMARTdesks upgraded DBCR’s “old school” facility, making it a state-of-the-art college prep computer lab by providing an engineered, custom designed collaborative learning environment.
The design process began with an SMARTdesks online design request, and a vision by its President, Father Steve Shafran, to enrich students’ writing and critical thinking capabilities, with mastery of technology and digital resources — skill sets essential in college and today’s workplace.
SMARTdesks Director of Design Michele McHenry and President Jeffrey Korber collaborated by phone and computer with Father Steve over the course of the project, addressing issues from computer size to spacing of the power management outlets and monitor placement. When the required number of students in the new computer center grew from 28 to 30, a linear desk layout provided the answer to meet capacity effectively.
As Korber acknowledges, “The buildings that we use today generally do not fit the collaborative mode or the layout that includes wiring, moveable power and flexibility. And the key word here is flexibility, because when I look at space, it’s pretty much fixed. So, one of the things that is really important is: how do you take fixed space and make it flexible?”
The key to flexibility is to incorporate technology into the educational space. Korber says, “The speed of access to information has increased at exponential rates in the last 20 years, and that drives the need for the interior environment that gives the end-user access to equipment. But at the same time, it presents architectural challenges.” SMARTdesks Furniture + Furniture Integration Technology proved to be the best solution for the challenge.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of School Planning & Management.