In order to support a strong STEM program, DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, MD) renovated and modernized their science classrooms and laboratories in 2011. Students and their parents participated quite actively in this project, donating their time and talents in order to help avoid cost overruns on this tightly budgeted project. The school was fortunate enough to have an architect among the group of parent-volunteers.
Working with VACUUBRAND, he was able to design a cost-effective VACUU·LAN® network for installation in their physical sciences lab. The vacuum system was intended to be used for tasks like basic filtration during chemistry lab sessions. To support this work, the vacuum system included two compact, quiet pumps to provide vacuum to a total of 12 student workstations.
When installation procedures were reviewed during the design phase, the architect saw an opportunity to save on the cost of a plumbing contractor by making use of the group of parent volunteers to perform the installation. Because the networks are plumbed using PTFE tubing and compression fittings, rather than soldered or brazed copper pipe, installation is quick and easy, even without the benefit of experienced plumbers or pipefitters. The specially-designed vacuum turrets were installed into pre-drilled holes in the casework, so the onsite work required only a screwdriver to install the four screws that hold the mounting base in place. And because the pumps weigh only 30 lbs. each and fit within a standard cabinet, the parents were easily able to install them and get the vacuum networks up and running. All told, the parents were able to install the full vacuum system at the end of the lab renovation project—working around other utilities like lab gas and air—and complete the process in less than a day.