Jim Bauer’s Mount Shasta High School biology class is getting a taste of working in a real laboratory environment this semester. The lab was renovated this past summer as part of the school’s modernization, and Bauer has been working to organize the large space, which he helped design.

The room features new Apple computers and sleek multipurpose stations, each complete with its own sink and many drawers and cabinets to house the numerous tools of the scientific trade.
The high ceilinged room is not only filled with light, but also various scientific models, books, microscopes, aquariums, and other paraphernalia crucial to hands-on studies of Biology and Environmental Science.

Students can spread out and work more comfortably with added elbow room, said Bauer, a science teacher at MSHS?for the past 25 years.

“Kids need a good environment in order to learn,” Bauer said as he explained the many improvements to the room. Labs are the most expensive rooms to remodel, he said, and the District was finally able to fund the renovation in conjunction with the state. Before this summer, the lab hadn’t been updated in 10 years.

The room is now equipped with two vent hoods, capable of exchanging all air in the lab in just 10 minutes with the flip of a switch.

“We won’t be restricted by the weather any longer,” said Bauer. In the past, Biology classes weren’t able to do projects such as dissections in the colder months because the smell forced them to open classroom doors and windows. In warmer months, the new central air conditioning will keep the class cool and comfortable.

The supply closet, which  had previously been located around the corner in a separate classroom, was made accessible to the lab and doubled in size. Equipment is now organized and ready for use at any time.

“We don’t have to go looking for anything. It’s all accessible to the students,” said Bauer. “We have plenty of room to work.  Before we had to move everything around to accommodate our projects.”

The counter space makes the class much more manageable, and cleaning up is “a breeze” with the added sinks, he said.

The layout of the lab, which was designed with Bauer’s input, is more open. He is able to stand anywhere in the room and see everything that’s happening. “I can supervise everyone and answer any questions right away,” he said.

“We would be doing the students a disservice if we didn’t provide a quality environment for them to learn in,” said Bauer. His goal has always been to give students access to equipment, materials, and information. Having these things visibly available stimulates interest and curiosity.

On Thursday, students were hard at work on a tissue culture lab, which furthered their knowledge in botany and cloning.