Furnishing a Career School’s Natural Science Center

Group classroom at Butler Tech Career & Technical College's Natural Science Center
About this School
Butler Tech Natural Science Center
Monroe, Ohio
School type
Career & Technical School
250 students
The Challenge:

Butler Tech, a career and technical school system in Southwest Ohio, had an unusual campus to furnish: its new 25,000-square-foot Natural Science Center.

Constructed in 2022, the $12.5 million dollar center is designed for students exploring careers in veterinary and equestrian sciences, green engineering and landscape design. It sits on Butler Tech’s Monroe, Ohio, campus, a 72-acre farm complete with livestock.

Project officials knew that outfitting the two-story center wouldn’t be anything like furnishing a typical school. Furniture for the spacious classrooms, common areas and labs had to be able to withstand everything from boot spurs and dirt to live animals. Flexibility was essential too – students had to be able to move furniture around at a moment’s notice for various activities.

“Our vision was to build a functional, flexible space,” said Butler Tech’s Executive Director of Business Operations David Plotts. That vision is apparent in the building’s architecture.

Project Goals

Furnish a 25,000 sq ft. Natural Science Center for students in engineering and veterinary sciences.

Provide furnishings that are highly flexible and versatile.

Ensure furnishings are durable enough to withstand the presence of live animals, dirt and farm equipment.

“In the center of the building, multiple rooms can be joined together by opening garage doors – creating a single larger space,” said Plotts. The garage doors allow the rooms to be quickly rearranged for meals, assemblies, and learning activities – and in some cases, the presence of livestock.

“Furnishings need to be moved easily by one person, and be flexible, so they can be stored easily for different space uses,” said Plotts.

In addition to being ultra-durable and flexible, the furniture had to align with the center’s unique look. “Butler Tech did not want this to look like a typical school,” said School Outfitters’ Project Manager Kristy Lohmiller. “The center has a rustic barn look and feel throughout.”

Officials wanted a space that gave students the feeling of being outside even when they weren’t. “Looks were important,” said Plotts. “We were seeking furniture with an industrial look that maintained a high degree of flexibility.”

Our Approach:

The School Outfitters’ team began by meeting with project stakeholders on product selection.

“We had multiple meetings to discuss options for every room,” said Lohmiller. “We also met with the architect to ensure we understood the framework of the building.”

Samples of products and finishes were brought onsite to help stakeholders determine what worked best in each space. From there, our project experts presented multiple quotes with Giza drawings and 3D room layouts.

“The sales team was excellent at working with us to define our furniture needs,” said Plotts. “They offered a large variety of furnishings in many different shapes, styles and colors.”

In the spacious student forum, our experts placed mobile, tilt-top cafeteria tables with steel frames. The heavy-duty casters allow students to easily arrange the space for meals or push tables out of the way for assemblies. Plus, the laminate tops are easy to clean and scratch and stain resistant.

We paired the tables with lightweight polypropylene chairs. With flexible shells and built-in grab handles, the school chairs are comfortable and a cinch to pick up and move from space to space.

“We can be set up for a full-school assembly, and within 15 minutes be set back up for lunch service,” said Plotts.

Our experts recommended flexible furnishings throughout the rest of the center – even in the vet science lab. There, we placed adjustable-height, chemical-resistant tables with optional casters to give students safe yet versatile workspace. For the teacher’s workspace, we chose a slim mobile presentation cart with spacious shelves to transport AV equipment.

In the classrooms, we recommended cog and bowtie-shaped student desks on locking casters. The unique shapes of these collaborative desks pair seamlessly together for group work – and the laminate tops are sure to withstand years of use. We matched the desks with more lightweight polypropylene school chairs.

As a bonus, the tables and chairs matched the school’s vibrant colors.

“We were able to match the school colors with our brilliant blue and green apple color options,” said Lohmiller. “They really like to bring in Butler Tech colors to any location.”

In the center’s indoor animal pen, we placed extra heavy-duty, rust-resistant steel shelving. At a weight capacity of 900 lbs. per shelf, the unit is ideal storage for animal feed, hay bales, livestock equipment and more.

Vet Science Lab at Butler Tech Career & Technical College's Natural Science Center
Collaborative classroom at Butler Tech Career & Technical College's Natural Science Center
The Impact:

The new and dynamic furnishings have “absolutely” impacted how the students use the space today, said Plotts. In fact, the students leverage the center’s flexibility on a daily basis.

“The students use the furniture every day,” he said. “It allows us to set up the space in a variety of formats, quickly and easily.”

Although construction delays pushed back the installation, the School Outfitters team quickly coordinated with suppliers to meet the project deadline.

“School Outfitters ensured our furniture package was delivered, set up, and ready to go on the first day of class.” said Plotts.

The new furnishings not only meet the school’s vision of flexibility and function but are durable enough to withstand years of use – animals and all.

“The furniture is a key component to enabling the flexible space needs we have for today’s learning.” said Plotts.

Have questions? We’re here to help! Our experts are available by phone at 1-800-260-2776. You can also get personalized assistance through our or by emailing us. We’re available Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm.

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