Teacher news letter for July

July 12, 2009 Auto teacher news Shop/Lab Considerations

When an automotive person designs and builds an automotive shop they will aim towards a profitable design. Things like customer service and work flow have to be considered. For the education of students a different perspective is required. One must of course consider safety and environmental issues. I know many of you have shops/labs that were built before you had input into the design. We all have to be flexible and adapt to what we have to deal with. Some are being blessed with funds and development of new labs or renovation of old labs is being considered. I have several calls and e mails recently about new construction of an auto lab for schools.
Mind you that I am not an architect or builder. I did build one dealership shop in the 70s that I owned and later built an independent auto service center I also owned. I am going to include pictures and video links in this newsletter. A visual is worth a lot of writing. This will not cover the classroom which must be separate!
Here are my concerns in this short news letter. A school lab needs to have good lighting and ventilation. Exhaust fans are required to move vehicle exhaust fumes out of the lab area. A shop may be profitable with X number of lifts per XX square feet of floor space, but to teach you know you need lots of room to place all those students where they can observe what you are demonstrating. Like wise heavy duty tables with vises in sufficient numbers to allow all students to practice tasks and layout modules during class. Lots of storage to allow student projects to be organized and controlled. I would recommend a lift and two tables for each four students. These four would work out of one tool set as a team. All special tools are kept in HD plastic parts boxes labeled and organized to the tasks that need to be done. All tools would be organized to the tasks required and in the respective boxes. Generic tools would be displayed on boards or walls. The goal here is for the newest student to be able to find the tool without hassle. Dark tool rooms full of clutter are not profitable in shops or efficient in school labs. Piles of stuff left over and disassembled parts that are no value to the training program should be recycled asap.
The lab should have walkways marked and open for traffic with signage visible to all of where the exits and what the area or room is named. Everything should have a place and everything should be well marked for all to see.
The facility on the DOE web site is efficient and will work better than the labs they built back in the 80s. I had one of those at the first school I taught at. We redesigned it fixing several safety issues.
Here is the plan http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocu20Layouts

The safety of the student is the most important factor in the design. There must be a safety shower and eyewash in the lab. Some schools have balked at this but now OSHA has ruled and how would you feel if one of your students was drenched with gasoline and you have no shower? Be sure to see the safety and clean up area of the Honda Training Center. I include this as the best example of a certified training program. Here it is
https://www.autoteacher.net/uploads/Visit_to_Honda_TC.ppt
I hope you have your own ideas of shop/lab designs to share. Please do!

Hope to see you at NACAT! Sonny

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