UC San Diego

Undergraduate innovation lab workstations designed for maximum productivity. August 06, 2012


The Moxie Center Incubator at the Jacobs School of Engineering supports undergraduate student innovation, with a mission to help students “dream, design, and develop” their engineering ideas into commercial products.


Dave Wargo, UCSD’s computer science and engineering department facilities manager, was given the task of making the new laboratory workspace a haven for innovation.  He explains that there had previously been an unofficial lab with space for undergraduates to work on projects, but the new funding allowed him a blank slate to create a space conducive to productivity, security, responsibility, and cleanliness.  A tall order for undergraduates with power tools!


Wargo developed a design for the lab that included six workstations, each with its own workbench and rolling tool cabinet, with a storage area in which everything could be locked.  The benches needed to be able to adapt to students of different sizes. In addition, he wanted shelves and drawer storage and the ability to reconfigure the unit at any time.

At the center of the lab, Wargo envisioned a workstation for larger projects, or ones that require more bench room. Two 6-foot tables can be moved around or rotated into a space as large as 12 by 12 feet. In addition, the lab also includes a teleconferencing center, and a special “dirty production zone” room with a drill press, sander, and soldering equipment.


The final plan included the LISTA Storage Wall® system with tambour doors, LISTA CL shallow depth mobile cabinets, Align® adjustable height workstations, as well as stationary all-purpose benches.  LISTA’s Nexus Accessory System product line was used above the work surface to hang lights and other accessories, like flat panel monitors, pegboards, and louver panels.

The workstations are arranged around the perimeter of the room.  Each has a 4-foot by 6-foot LISTA Align adjustable height work table that holds a monitor on which CAD designs can be displayed, plus a 42-inch wide storage wall cabinet, which is 8-9 feet tall and a 22-inch by 22-inch CL rolling tool box.  The cabinet is in effect a cubby fitted with shelves and drawers, into which the students can roll their tools.  The design also included placing overhead lights in the center of the workstation rather than the back, so groups could use both the front and back of the bench if they choose.


  • Compact, well-equipped work stations allow small groups to focus on team projects, while space for larger projects is set aside nearby.
  • The LISTA Storage Wall gave the lab incredible versatility – the drawer and shelf setup can be reconfigured at any time within five minutes, and the tambour doors allow each section to be locked separately.
  • The heavy duty, stylish, and adjustable lab furniture, supplied by LISTA International, gives each group of students their own secure space.  The new lab’s set up promotes responsibility, productivity, and a sense of pride that is sure to lead to innovative products for the 21st century.

"I am very happy with the final product. The workbenches are heavy duty with solid maple tops. The adjustable height is very useful for different sized students. The cabinets and toolboxes are heavy duty and made to last. The task lighting is excellent and there are plenty of electrical outlets."

– Dave Wargo 


Storage Wall® System

Align® Height Adjustable Workstations