Studio W Architects is considered a leader in the design and implementation of security and safety in public schools. Studio W has been featured in articles in Green Building & Design magazine (January/February 2019) and in US Glass Magazine (December 17, 2014) that described steps schools can take to create safer site plans that simultaneously have a thoughtful approach to environmental design. Some of those steps include the following:
- Ensure the school’s administration building is positioned in a key location on the campus to facilitate visual connectivity to everyone coming and going from the school and to provide better control of the campus.
- Create a single point of access when the school is in session. This is fundamental to the protection of the students and staff and can be accomplished by aesthetically pleasing fencing and by using buildings as barriers to prevent intruders from gaining access to the campus.
- Add high-resolution/high-definition security cameras throughout the school to visually control all areas of the campus, including the athletic fields, to monitor and quickly identify potential intruders. In addition to keeping administrative offices informed and in control, it allows the local police department the opportunity to also monitor the campus.
- Implement smart innovations in school construction. Doors and windows can provide greater safety for children and teachers in classrooms. The so-called “Columbine lock,” for example, allows classroom doors to be locked from the inside in the event of an intruder or lockdown on campus. Hardened glass placed at the entry of the administrative office creates a buffer to prevent a shooter from easily entering the site (reference Sandy Hook Elementary School). And locating windows at a higher level on exterior buildings prevents easy intrusion without compromising natural daylight.