Many people claim the Romans were so crazy because their aqueducts were lined with lead. Given 20 people in a basement with that much free lead in the air, I'm really surprised by the end of the semester, you weren't having Roman style orgies during class.Sounds alot like my experience. I was lucky enough to go to a school that offered computer courses and electronics classes. At the time I just wished they had better facilities. 20 people soldering in a basement can cause some health issues without good ventilation.
Or is there something you're not telling us?