By Jason Millard
In recent years, the safety of students in schools has emerged as a paramount concern for districts across the United States. A growing commitment
to student safety has ignited a wave of innovations and initiatives aimed at creating secure learning environments. Schools are increasingly adopting security protocols to strengthen their campuses and safeguard their students.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 90 percent of public schools in the country have developed a specific action plan; 70 percent of schools now run active-shooter drills with their students.
However, preparedness goes beyond school officials and administrators. For architects and designers specializing in institutional design, keeping children safe is an increasingly difficult task which can weigh heavy on one’s heart and mind.
By balancing design and safety, along with incorporating better access controls, such as advanced rolling closures, architects can help prevent and defend against shooting situations. The architecture and design industry has a responsibility to create intelligently designed schools that mitigate shooters and prevent mass casualties, and there are a few ways to do so.
Balancing aesthetics and protection
For architects working on K-12 schools, safety and security planning starts long before the first brick is laid. Strategic thinking about how to keep students safe is now baked into the design process of every school and institutional project. And, while safety and security are paramount, specifiers must prevent their design from looking or feeling dark, unappealing, and enclosed—which can impact the students’ and administrators’ mental state.