3 Ways your Architect can Help with Security
Security for Public Schools is typically a complicated process with several variables to consider. In most cases, the initial thought is developing responses to safety issues or emergencies. But the safety component should stretch beyond that and include design features on your campus.
Here are 3 ways (among many) your Architect can help with Security:
1. Use of Interior Design
A licensed interior designer (typically a part of an architecture firm) can help create a positive atmosphere through decor and culture which should be considered an inherent and important part of school security. This can be accomplished through relevant and appropriate murals, student artwork, and color schemes to promote school climate and culture. Research shows that when students feel a connection to the building, they are less likely to vandalize it and more likely to prevent or report vandalism. Each school is different, so the type of materials and finishes are based on the District to ensure their design and interiors matches the community. For instance, one school may want to focus on bright and resilient flooring while others may prioritize the school history. Either way, capitalizing on the culture can be an excellent way to connect students, staff and parents to a school. Therefore, whenever a School is looking to build new or renovate there is an excellent opportunity to set a positive tone.
2. Access and Control
Creating a secured entry with access and control is crucial for every District to consider. This allows staff to easily control a campus by creating boundaries between public and private space and directing people to appropriate areas. For example, we want the control access flow to begin outside before people enter. Utilizing fences, landscape, and/or retaining walls as architectural features can also be used to guide visitors to the main entrance. Then strive to have a single point of entry for visitors where they can be screened and given a visitor badge after signing in. Well-designed front entry foyers can allow staff to control access remotely. These areas would also require the use of cameras or mirrors, as well as a method for staff to speak to visitors, such as a window or an intercom call box.
3. Lock-down Capabilities
During the design or renovation phase it is important to think through and identify areas that can be used during potentially violent situations. It is essential to provide reasonably secure areas that staff can quickly flee to and secure themselves with a form of communication. Planning for these spaces upfront helps reduce risk for school staff but can enhance the safety of students throughout the building as well. Creating opportunities for staff to be secure allows them to help warn others and implement safety protocols more quickly or contact emergency services. Therefore, a secured area should be quickly accessed, have lock-down capabilities, along with a means of communication.
We have found it to be invaluable to offer both Security Consulting along with Architectural Services (among other services) in a single organization. Our teams work closely together to ensure you campus is designed with Security in mind. Then our security consultants can utilize the design team when renovations are necessary to help secure a campus. How well did your campus measure up against these three design components? Let us know!