Safety QA1

Q: I was so excited to view and hear about the new school plans at the meeting Tuesday evening!! All great ideas and visions. I do have a few questions pertaining to the safety of the building. As an educator myself, I don’t take lightly to keeping schools safe. My concern is with the designated outside areas that are enclosed throughout the communities on the plan. Yes that would make for a safe outside environment, but I can’t help but wonder if an emergency were to arise and their was a fire or gunmen, how would the children be able to evacuate that area if the fire/gunmen were to enter that area from within the school and say open fire? It’s a scary scenario, but being trapped with no exit to the outside area accept back through the school is scarier in a crisis situation. Sorry for the horrifying scenario, but when Sandy Hook occurred, children literally ran from the school to the fire house and neighbors. I would want my child to be able to run from an enclosed area as fast as possible too.

My other safety question has to do with bullet proof glass. Will the school entrance and ground floor windows be equipped with bullet proof glass? The classroom doors are of concern too. Their are doors made now that close and lock automatically, will their be some new improved doors in the classrooms that will be able to do this in emergency situations? Also, will there be a designated area in the classrooms to take shelter besides in a bathroom or closet? I would greatly appreciate more information pertaining to the safety aspect of the plans. I would love to see them mapped out in the plans! 10-27

A: Safety and security are of primary importance to this project from both the design and operational aspects of the school. First and foremost, you should know that this project will incorporate elements outlined in the School Safety Infrastructure Criteria as required by the state. This includes design techniques and criteria related to school site and perimeter, access control, surveillance, parking areas and pedestrian routes, recreational areas (playgrounds & athletic fields), communication systems, building exterior (window locations & amounts, protective films, egress/door systems), main entry & lobby (sally ports), interior surveillance (cameras, compartmentalize building areas), classroom security (access control/hardware, views, safe zones), large assembly areas, roofs, and critical assets/utilities. ( Our safety strategy includes three main components for success (1) Design Elements – layout, design principles, products, (2) Active Management – policies & procedures (3) Review & Monitor – continually improve systems through review – How is it managed, Who has control, What can be overcome? Other strategies such as CPTED (Crime prevention through environmental design) will be implemented into the design of the project. CPTED is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts. This strategy includes items such as placement of landscaping, location of windows and sill height, and the design and length of pedestrian walks from parking areas to the main entry for example. Should this project be approved, the development of the detailed plans will incorporate the key goals of Deterrence, Detection, Delay, and Response – with our ultimate objective to provide a warm, inviting, and safe educational setting.

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