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College preparatory school opens new student labs made from shipping containers

The three labs will each house a different focus.

May 20, 2019 |

All photos: Black & Hue Photography

Maclay School, a Tallahassee-based college preparatory school, has unveiled three new student labs made from refurbished shipping containers. The three labs, combined with a shared courtyard and gardens designed to foster collaboration, are collectively known as the Beck Family Research Center (BFRC).

Each lab will house a different focus: Biomedical and Student Research; Art, Inspiration, and Design; and Computer Science, Robotics, and Engineering. The containers were constructed off-site and shipped to the school. The labs include similar resources to those offered by research universities such as technology, active learning furnishings, and hands-on equipment. The furniture in all three labs is flexible and mobile to help create student-centered instruction and easy collaboration.


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An outdoor garden features raised beds that can double as seating. The beds contain plants that were selected for their potential to be used in lesson plans across all grade levels. The garden also includes a Solar SmartFlower. The SmartFlower uses solar panels arranged like flower petals to track the sun’s position throughout the day. When bad weather rolls in or the sun goes down, the “petals” retract, opening again when the sun comes out. The SmartFlower provides data for students to monitor and study on campus as part of the curricululm.






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