Beautiful School Design…But is it Safe and Secure?

When designing structures for school districts, there are many questions that come up: Is the design functional? Does it meet District and State specifications? Is it within budget? Will it be completed on time?

But one question that many don’t think to ask is, “Does the design enhance the security or protection of students and teachers?”

It is important for school district administrators to be addressing student and teacher security needs during the design phase of any building project. The first step of doing this is to carry out a security assessment that identifies risks and vulnerabilities. It is important to then use this information to develop a building design that helps to mitigate potential threats.

“Our security design model is risk driven which allows district administrators the ability to review district standards against emerging trends and technology innovation” said Phillip Caires, Director of Special Projects.  “With an over-arching architectural security framework as the goal”.

A comprehensive security assessment should include an evaluation of how well the school is able to deter, detect, delay and respond to a security or safety threat. It is important to analyze the day-to-day operational flow of students, faculty, staff and visitors into and through the school to determine where entry points are in the morning, where entry points for visitors and parents are during the instructional day, and where exit points are at the close of the day.

Additionally, the analysis should identify the specific flow of students and teachers to the playground at recess, and if there are modular classrooms or detached buildings, the pathway and doors out of the main school building into the portable/detached building area.

“Operational security is a design level function that focuses on alignment and monitoring which are the key drivers when establishing the most effective implementation elements,” said Caires.

The following is a list of general security and safety items that ATI implements into their designs. These elements should be considered for any school district design.

School Campus

Site Layout Lighting
Public Entrances to Site Access to Drainage and Services
Boundary Treatment Site and Buildings Layout
Signs Access to Roof Top Areas
Vehicular Access Use of Lockers
Pedestrian Access Chemical Storage
Parking for Cars, Motorcycles & Bicycles Way Finding
Landscaping Surveillance
CCTV Systems Consideration of “After Hour” Use of Some Campus Areas

Buildings Shell Security

Windows Perimeter Doors Avoidance of Alcoves and Wall Recesses
Roller Shutters

Buildings Internal Layout

School Entrance and Visitor Control Corridors and Circulation Areas
Reception Area General Office Security
Waiting Area Computers
WC Facilities

Implemented by the District with Input by ATI

Security Management Contractors
Records Surveillance (CCTV and Patrols)
Policy Statement Property Marking
Staff Training Crime Log and Police Contact
Secure Areas Cleaning and Repair
Visitor Control
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