Design That Protects Children
School Should Always Be a Safe Place for Kids.
There are many opportunities to enhance school safety, security, climate, culture and emergency preparedness through physical design features.
Single Point of Entry
Campuses with a single point of entry for visitors can guide visitors to the front office where they can be screened and given a visitor badge after signing in. Well-designed front entry vestibules can allow staff to control access remotely.
Natural surveillance and line of sight should be enhanced and maximized as appropriate throughout the building. Such as: the 3/4 wall that allows teachers to hear what is happening in the gym while in the hallway.
Natural Access Control
Creating boundaries between public and private space and directing people to appropriate areas can help staff control a campus. For example, fences, hedgerows, walls and other geographic or building features can be used to define the edge of campus and guide visitors to the main entrance of the school.
Design features relating to traffic safety should be thoughtfully implemented, well maintained, visible and easily understandable to students, staff and visitors. Parking lot features such as winding roadways can also help to reduce speed and increase the time available where staff can observe vehicles and visitors as they approach the building.
Shelter from Storms
Administrators are responsible for creating tornado safety plans but architects are responsible for ensuring a building has been designed to be a shelter. Safe rooms provide near-absolute life-safety protection in severe wind events, fortified to offer extra protection against tornadoes and other severe windstorms.