Laboratory Utilization and Facilities Assessment Study


During the winter of 2007, Lee Nason and Liz Bender of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction conducted a review of all teaching and research lab space on the main campus. Accompanied by lab techs, researchers, and department heads, Lee and Liz noted facilities deficiencies and a broad variety of initiatives that, if implemented, could improve research and science teaching for our community. As a result of that initial in-house effort, the university decided to expand this effort to our satellite campuses, get into more detail regarding laboratory and equipment shortcomings, and prioritize the needs of our principle investigators and teaching faculty.

During the summer of 2007 the Facilities Planning, Design and Construction team, with the generous financial support of the Provost’s office, began an in-depth study of laboratory utilization and assessment by entering into a contract with Nault Architects of Worcester and Perkins and Will, a nationally prominent laboratory facility specialist.

Project Deliverables

When this project is complete, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction will have a comprehensive database of laboratory conditions including enough detail and prioritization to allocate resources to our most pressing upgrade projects:

  • Floor plans showing departmental allocations and uses
  • Spreadsheets showing departmental allocations and uses
  • Metrics linking faculty/staffing levels and uses to departmental allocations
  • Metrics linking grant awards to departmental allocations
  • Field Assessment Sheets assessing all finish and equipment and prioritizing suggested improvements for every laboratory

Scope of Work

This project covers all Engineering Departments, all SMAST Departments, and four CAS Departments (Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, and Medical Laboratory Science).

This project considers spaces on the main campus, the ATMC, SMAST, and the Mill Street, Fairhaven site.


When this work is complete, the university will be able to allocate funds to improve existing lab spaces on an objectively prioritized basis. Priority will be given to improving safety by installing eyewashes, showers and fire suppression equipment as needed and providing appropriate storage for toxic materials and flammables. It will also be possible to help departments consolidate and achieve collaborative improvements by locating collaborating researchers adjacent to one another. Wet lab spaces may be reassigned from office uses to researchers who have a need for them and administrative space may be converted to needed wet lab space. And all decisions will be informed by solid information concerning grant funding.