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The Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is a large and active group of architects and allied professionals concerned with the quality and design of all types of educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.

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School Safety

  • 1.  School Safety

    Posted 03-15-2018 11:47 AM
    While school safety is forefront in the national discussion, why isn't AIA, on behalf of the profession, putting forth better school design as a part of the solution to make schools safer?  It seems like we could be a strong voice of reason and a very practical part of the answer.

    Ryan Monson, AIA

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 2.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-15-2018 06:37 PM
    Edited by B. Karina Ruiz AIA 03-15-2018 06:39 PM


    Thanks for adding this important topic to the discussion board. I completely agree that the AIA CAE needs to be a leading voice in the conversation on designing safe, secure and connected schools. As a member of the AIA CAE Leadership Group, I know that we are currently working diligently with AIA National on publishing a position paper that takes a holistic look at the issues of school safety. We are also currently encouraging, engaging, and assisting the AIA National Board of Directors as they take a hard look at AIA Policies concerning safety in educational facilities. We understand that this discussion is currently very heated and we need to provide a timely response and hope to be able to do so soon.

     That said, I would like to offer some resources for those members having these discussions in their communities. These resources can serve as a starting point for those looking for guidance in designing for safety in schools:

    One of the dangers of these and other school hardening resources however is that these measures alone aren't enough. Sandy Hook ES and Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS had some of the "target hardening" elements described in many CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) standards installed and it didn't stop perpetrators from entering the schools and causing tragedies. As architects, we are being asked to develop designs that provide for bullet-proof glass, secure entry vestibules, surveillance camera systems, etc. These can be beneficial to deter an active shooter and can also aid in providing deterrents for bullying and other behavioral elements, but they are not the exclusive answer. Our clients are being barraged with offers from various manufacturers about products that will shield students in the event of an active-shooter situation and you can certainly understand the pressure from parents and community members to provide these measures and more to keep their kids safe.

    It is our responsibility as architects, however, to serve as a counterpoint to some of these hardening tactics as well. We cannot let fear dictate design or advocate for designing our schools to resemble prisons. Our schools and communities deserve more from us. In addition to providing enhanced security measures, we also need to look at research on provisions of "soft design" as well. In response to the MSD school shooting, we have seen many school & university officials, national educational organizations, affiliated organizations and individuals come together as an interdisciplinary group to develop a "Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the US" where they stress the importance of creating stronger, more connected school communities focused on development and identification of soft skills in students to reduce the incidence of isolation, depression, bullying and discrimination in our schools. The design of schools can and should be an active partner in this conversation. Through transparency, adjacency and creation of warm, welcoming environments, architects can provide the physical spaces to nurture these activities.

    In a recent community meeting, we were asked, "How can the architecture support relationship"? This should be the lens we are using in designing our schools and we as the AIA CAE look forward to continuing to develop opportunities at the national and local level to further this very important conversation. We hope you will join us!


    AIA CAE Leadership Group Vice Chair

    B. Ruiz AIA
    BRIC Architecture, Inc
    Portland OR

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 3.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-16-2018 05:40 PM

    I think your comments are very well put together and I agree with your second point that school design alone will not solve this problem. It is just one piece of a much larger social change that needs to take place in this country. While the CPTED guidleines provide some useful information and is a good resource, it is just one piece of material we should be referencing. There is also a handful of research articles out there that indicate while things like mental illness, exposure to bullying, and lack of social skills plays a roll in these catastrophic events the one thing that the US stands out in compared to other countries is simply the large amount of guns that we own. Here is a link to an article that was forwarded to me when our local chapter was discussing supporting gun legislation in our state.

    What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

    It think that the AIA response needs to focus around the benefits of a more "soft" design. I feel these benefits far outweigh the benefits of hardening our schools and other public buildings.

    Stephen M. Black, AIA

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 4.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-19-2018 05:52 PM

    It's fascinating that overseas we considerable spend blood and treasure to disarm those who would do us harm, from nuclear threats to AK-47's  – but not inside our own country.




    Phil L. Scott, Jr., AIA

    Principal / CFO

    GSC Architects

    3100 Alvin DeVane Blvd

    Bldg. A, Suite 200-B  |  Austin, TX 78741

    C: 512.423.1944   |   T: 512.433.2513  |  F: 512.477.9675


    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 5.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-19-2018 06:24 PM

    In order for architects to take any position on this issue of school safety, we must examine evidence that illustrates the causes of gun violence in schools and then formulate a plan to address the aspects that pertain to the built environment.  Evidence is often obtained through research and Congress refuses to fund any such examination on this topic through NIH and CDC Congress Quashed Research Into Gun Violence. Since Then, 600,000 People Have Been Shot..  While school violence and mass-shootings are presented by some as a mostly (mental) health-related problem , there is no denying that beyond the role of guns, the built environment as funded and programmed by administrators and designed by architects should also be included within any such study.  For example, research on highway safety must  also cover the planning and design of roads and bridges as well as the social ills related to hazards such as DUI, inattentive driving and road rage.  I propose that AIA National make a strong effort to either lobby for, or self-perform research on school safety that does not just cover the problem of unauthorized entry by armed malcontents and their mental health or arrest records, but also how school buildings themselves and their overall operation might help to at least mitigate any atmosphere that nurtures feelings of  alienation .  Architects working with some school clients may for now have to work with owners demanding huge, impersonal schools, but that doesn't prevent us from leading the effort to change the equation in the future to allow for a more sane and humane built environment for children.


    Andre Larroque AIA
    Cedar Crest NM

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 6.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-20-2018 02:22 PM
    The role of building design is critical only to the extent where we are defending against an attack. However, many of the perpetrators of these heinous acts have already gained entrance into the buildings. Therefore, the effort has to change the paradigm for how disenfranchised students or those who feel this way deal with their anger and disconnection. Two things need to happen:

    • "At risk" students must be identified and counseled helping them deal with their frustrations to diffuse their anger before it goes violent; and
    • There is no place where a weapon should be on school grounds let alone brought into a building. 
    The first issue is one design can potentially address by creating comfortable, non-confrontational environments where these student can get the counseling needed. However, the second may require almost a sally port entrance to all school buildings where screening can occur before someone gets to the building.

    Furthermore, legislation to restrict availability of weapons to those who might be inclined to use them to cause great harm is more important. In this regard, we all need to band together to change the current direction. We need to act as the committed, caring profession we are and join with the brave students who have picked up the banner of protest to demand appropriate action of our legislators. As a community, we can no longer continue to throw our hands in the air and proclaim there is nothing to be done, because the power to act has been taken by those who have influence. We have the power of numbers and the votes to change the outcome when and where the time comes. All the money in the world cannot overturn the ballot box. Let's do this and make our legislators know we are watching and will make the effort to see where they are getting financial support to vote otherwise. If you are not in office, you cannot vote on legislation. We, the people can produce that outcome.

    Judson Kline, FAIA
    CIVITAD Services, LLC
    Cleveland, Ohio

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 7.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-21-2018 06:20 PM
    Agreed Judson!
    In addition, I believe architects can step up to assist school districts in identifying solutions to safer secure entry points not only at the main entrance but all entrances around the buildings. Our existing schools are the most vulnerable. The new schools we can address more easily. If architects ban together to initiate studies within our communities of schools, obtain floor plans, quickly analyze vulnerabilities and offer sketch solutions with associated cost estimates, concept packages can propel the conversations for decision makers to budget to make corrections. As architects, we cannot expect to heal unhealthy minds, but we cannot rely on our politicians to initiate the way to a more secure environment. Our decision makers (districts and school board members) need our initiatives to become educated and convinced of the ways to make our students and staff members safe! If we wait around for bills to be passed and RFQ’s to be assembled, it could take years to see change. Funding will come quicker once legislators understand the solutions! We are visionaries, we can make a difference!

    Angela Bigotti, AIA
    Van Woert Bigotti Architects
    Reno, Nevada

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 8.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-16-2018 06:59 PM
    Sending again-not sure first message sent.
    Very difficult to conceive of a democratic way to stop a shooter. For years schools have taken outdoor hardware off secondary doors making front and bus entry doors the only way in from the outside to a central hall and or a commons.
    Years ago we designed a school on Adak Island, Alaska for HHS that had three sets of front entry doors and two adjoining entry vestibules. We did this because our front entrance faced a significant prevailing wind.
    If U.S. laws would allow an inconspicuous magnetometer on the first set of doors within such a double vestibule that could detect profiles of guns and rifles, possibly the third set of (inner) vestibule doors could be linked to the device & instantly locked/alarmed in time to slow down a shooter. Just a thought.

    Howard Partch AIA
    Anacortes WA

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 9.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-16-2018 07:33 PM
    Designing toilet rooms single-user and gender-neutral (attached) can help solve isolation, depression, bullying <g class="gr_ gr_429 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="429" data-gr-id="429">and</g> discrimination of the students who suffer <g class="gr_ gr_871 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="871" data-gr-id="871">with</g> paruresis.  Paruresis affects up to 14.4% of the students - Wikipedia.

    This debilitating condition, where students find it difficult or impossible to relieve themselves in the presence of others, may even contribute towards <g class="gr_ gr_43 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" id="43" data-gr-id="43">group</g> (multi-stall) restroom violence.  

    Bruce Pitts
    A&E HVAC Mechanical Engineering
    Aiken SC

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 10.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-18-2018 06:45 PM
    This is a great discussion not just about school security, but also about the role of the AIA.  As architects, we can do a lot to help promote safer schools through design, without creating prisons.  There are many ways to help create safer schools including secure vestibules, bullet resistant glass, security systems with cameras and secure hardware, etc.  These are all items related to design and architects.  School administrators can also do things to help promote safer schools including better safety protocols, better training to help spot potential violence, better mental health and counseling for students, etc.  All things related to how a school functions no matter the building.  When architects work with schools we can coordinate design elements with administrative elements to help make schools much safer than they have been in the past.  It is sad that we have this need, but it is important.  These are the kinds of things the AIA should be promoting, things we can all agree on, things that everyone can work together on.

    What I wish the AIA would not do, is get into the politics of gun control.  There are a lot of passionate opinions on both sides of this debate, and I think individuals have the right, even responsibility, to be involved in promoting their view through legislators and organizations who's focus in on gun control or the opposition of such.  The AIA's involvement in this topic will do nothing but cause division among us when we have so much we can be united on.  I firmly believe the AIA should not promote legislation outside of what is directly related to our profession.  Leave the gun control debate to others, so we can stay united and focused on the things we can directly impact to keep kids safe.

    Brad McKenzie, AIA
    Assistant Director of Business Operations
    Project Architect

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 11.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-27-2018 11:10 PM

    Thank you for your efforts on this topic.  We, as members of the AIA are best suited to be at the forefront of this issue.  I believe it is our duty as responsible designers.  We have taken the mantle of sustainable design as a professional organization, and I believe designing schools to be their safest and simultaneously a place that fosters learning and inspires not frightens, to be the next great challenge.  One we should embrace.  My research at Penn State University is specifically aimed at this issue.  As a practicing architect, I changed direction of my career a few years ago to help find solutions to the problems we face with mass shootings.  After Sandy Hook I was left wondering what might be missing.  As I continue my research I am eager to learn what you, in the Committee on Architecture for Education (which I have recently joined) have to say.  My efforts to find others within the AIA who are interested in security specific issues was not particularly fruitful, but given the gravity of the topic within the education community, perhaps this is the right place.  As a member of the American Society of Industrial Security's (ASIS) Architecture and Engineering Security Council (AESC) I want to let you know that we are dedicated to improving security within the built environment.  Many ASIS members are AIA members as well, including our past president Tom Vonier.

    As you suggest CPTED is not a panacea.  It is a criminology theory aimed to eliminate crime rather than punish or reform the offender after the criminal act has occurred.  But the key is design.  CPTED as a criminology theory is taught within sociology and criminology schools, yet architects are uniquely qualified to make the greatest impact in this effort.  But we are not trained in the CPTED principles.  Non-designers are trained at making changes in the built environment without any design training.  It's a real missed opportunity for us.  CPTED principles are so simple yet most architects I suspect are unaware of what they are or have even heard of CPTED.  As a result, our designs head out of the gate already under-performing.  If we are unlucky, we discover the failures after a tragedy.  Passive security strategies such as improving natural surveillance can help eliminate the inevitable reliance on mechanical security strategies such as cameras.  We spend so much time on design and leave the security vendors to wreak havoc at the end.

    As society is confronting this issue as either a gun control matter or a mental health issue, I believe there is a place in the middle to seek solutions.  This is the realm of architecture.  While we may not be able to stop every possible event, we should not believe we won't make a difference.  It just may be that our design expertise may make all the difference at saving life.  How many people can say they can make that kind of impact?

    As a new member of the CAE I look forward to reading many of your insights on this issue.


    Michael S. Nowak, AIA, NCARB, CPHC, NCIDQ
    Ph.D. Student
    Department of Architecture
    Pennsylvania State University
    107 Stuckeman Family Building
    University Park. PA 16802

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 12.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-20-2018 07:25 PM
      |   view attached

    I agree with Brad that we cannot get into the gun debate. If we do any message we create will be dead on arrival.

    Interesting that there is an app that can detect concealed guns but we are not looking at the technology for its application at the entry points of schools. This could prove exceptionally useful.

    We know at Columbine and Parkland the incidents could have been prevented had law enforcement acted on information they were provided. We need assurances that this will not happen again. We know that most attackers project their intentions and have been pushing reporting these projections. There have been several attacks that were prevented by following up since Columbine. Programs for educating people within education environments on how to recognize the early behavioral patterns and how to respond to it.Not sure though this is a banner for us to wave other than to support local efforts when it is discussed.

    Medicating our kids? In several of these cases the killers were on a medication and were not taking it at the time of the incident. I would advocate that we need to study how medications are effecting behavior. We had access to M14's etc. when I was a kid but we were not doing these types of mass killings. What has altered in the culture, psychology that has contributed to greater gun violence in schools? Has the medicating of our children altered brain chemistry to make them more violent? I would highly support a study on this. We have to get to the root of why kids are opting for such a horrible violent path.

    Bullying and societal isolation needs to continue to be addressed. We can make some headway here in design. Getting away from the gauntlet that double loaded corridors create would be a great beginning. More transparency throughout the building so we have eyes everywhere would also fit well with the education cultures we are promoting. It also makes pedophilia more challenging when everyone can see throughout the schools.

    FEMA 428 is a very good source but needs more refinement. We do not need a new separate standard. FEMA 428 was written by Security experts and Engineers. There were no Architects, Education Planners or Educators credited in the authorship. We need to develop a committee of Accredited Learning Environment Planners, Educators and Architects to oversee the development of recommendations that work within education facilities. We need to begin by researching what we have learned from all of the attacks. Then we need to sit down and rewrite FEMA 428. This should also be followed by establishing a baseline of mandatory design requirements that have to be built into every new school and timeline for adapting our existing schools.

    I have attached a paper I wrote on Baseline recommendations. There is a lot of good information out there but we are still learning.

    David [Henebry, AIA NCARB ALEP LEED] AIA
    [da Vinci Planning]
    [] []

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 13.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-22-2018 01:29 PM
    To me, there seems to be two different roles that we, as architects play on School Safety: the first is related to the gun control issue, and the other is related to the safe schools design issue. As people, we may all express our opinions on gun control, as least for now. Architects should also try to positively affect the design of schools to make them safer. Both of these roles are in addition to our other commitments to the community, the profession, the law and our contractural duties, obligations, goals, roles & responsibilities to our clients.

    Please understand that, when we express our opinions as experts, there will likely be push-back from those who are not architects but experts in other ways, including clients, politicians, product/service salespeople, lobbyists, developers, administrators, educators and parents. This is true because everyone does not agree on all issues; sorry, that’s just the way the people of the world are built, even among us architects! I also believe that, when we generally use our own architectural language (I call it Arch-Speak), we tend to lose the ability to communicate effectively with many others; it happens. When it does, I wonder whether we are trying to intimidate by our own ego/arrogance or educate. I question how many architects accept their clients’ desires, despite being (many times) the lone voice crying in the wilderness. Do we have much choice, short of resigning a commission?

    Architects can be effective leaders! They can also be effective followers because without followers, leaders are worthless.

    Gregg P. Dorfner
    Dorfner Consulting
    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 14.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-22-2018 05:38 PM

    Angela, Judson


    I can't add a whole lot more to the excellent points you and others have posted but I do want to jump on this bandwagon. I am not a school architect in the strictest sense, although I have designed a school building or two in my career. But the basic approach to thinking creatively applies to this issue as it does for any other. We have the ability to take a pro-active approach and influence our clients through the power of design. We do this every day on every project. Now that the entire educational community across the country is paying strict attention to the issue of school safety, we have a unique opportunity to contribute significantly to this serious situation. Legislators move with the speed of molasses. No one can wait on them if we want to make our educational environments safe for our children. As Angela said "WE are the visionaries", so lets together put our efforts together to make meaningful changes.


    Matt Morris, FAIA, LEED GA

    311 Third Street
    San Antonio Texas 78205
    p 210.679.2351

    Web | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 15.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-24-2018 12:54 PM
    In addition to the typical school safety issues discussed in the wake of school violence.  There is another problem related to school safety that is a building science challenge that architects can and must begin to make a priority.  More and more schools are being plagued with water damage and toxic mold which affects air quality and health.   A simple google search on the topic 'mold in school' will reveal the enormity of the problem.

    Air quality issues which affect health, ability to learn and even mental health are growing and schools are not immune.  This challenge is one that requires an architect's overall view to avoid in the first place and ultimately resolve.  With little regulation related to toxins in buildings, including mold, architects have a responsibility to educate themselves and clients on this topic.  The enormity of the challenge is daunting...I believe mold is the 'asbestos' of the 21st Century which is unfortunately an unintended consequence of the sustainability movement.   I research this topic extensively.  There's much to know, with constantly changing materials and systems, but the need remains for this very critical aspect of school safety where architects have an essential role.

    Cheryl Ciecko, AIA, ALA, LEED AP
    CCG + Architects, Inc. / Cheryl Ciecko, Inc.

    The Art of Building Wellness
    Tel:  708.354.3480    Fax:  708.354.3481


    Follow me on Twitter @inspiredarcht

    Connect on Linked In

    Connect on Facebook

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 16.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-23-2018 10:53 AM
    I heard this coming into the office this morning.  Its something each of us involved in the design and development of schools should listen to.

    Tanai Benard and Dezmond Floyd
    StoryCorps remove preview
    Tanai Benard and Dezmond Floyd
    On February 14, 2018, a gunman shot and killed 17 people and injured 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, making it one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history. This has heightened the national dialogue around school safety, a conversation that one family decided to bring to StoryCorps in Houston.
    View this on StoryCorps >

    Kevin Kemner Assoc. AIA
    Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects
    Sparks NV

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 17.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 04-12-2018 11:33 AM
    While I agree that it is important for the AIA to speak up on the importance of good school design in creating safer places for learning, we should push back hard on the idea that this is a problem of schools.   The cause of gun violence in schools is the problem of gun violence.  Schools are already some of the safest places to be, and violence in schools generally mirrors the violence in their communities.  Ensuring good security protocols and response plans is important, but we will continue to have mass killings in schools until we tackle the larger problem, which is uncontrolled access to guns and weapons of war.  It will be a shame if we channel education funds in to bullet proof glass and expensive security equipment instead of educating our children.  As design professionals it is our job to resist giving in to an atmosphere of paranoia and focus on creating Schools that provide a healthy and welcoming environment for teachers and students.  Perhaps the best way to do this is to get out in our communities and be active in local decision making.

    Laura Notman AIA
    Laura Notman Architect
    Arlington MA

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 18.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-28-2018 11:42 PM
    I agree with most of the points many of you have already made, particularly regarding the use of school design to promote psychological and psychosocial wellbeing at school. My non-architect perspective as a school psychologist is that by promoting mental health and psychosocial outcomes we can impact school climate, or the overall social environment. By using design to create more sense of community, foment a shared social identity for the student body, and make the school built environment psychologically comfortable, we can reduce bullying and promote mental health and social cohesion. Those are the things will have a real impact on school violence. But how do we provide safe school design that allows for emphasis on psychosocial goals? I think CPTED allows for meeting both of those needs, as many of your comments have highlighted.

    I certainly agree that CPTED and other strategies for designing out crime are only one factor in violence prevention, and that other major issues such as bullying and gun control need to be addressed in other non-design ways, but design can make a difference, which makes it absolutely worthy of discussion.

    What I think design research should also focus more on is student perceptions and their internal experience of safety and mental wellness in school environments, again because promoting psychological wellbeing is just as important as protecting school grounds from external threats.

    I just finished my dissertation research which looked at the most basic questions about CPTED that researchers have not asked yet, and that is "How do students feel about CPTED school designs?" and "Would they feel safer and/or more psychologically comfortable in schools designed with CPTED?" I am currently working on a white paper for AIA that will discuss how CPTED can meet students' need for both sense of safety and psychological comfort, which will include results of my research. Keep an eye out for that white paper; and if you're interested I can send you more info about my research which I'll also be publishing this year (just reach out to me here on the AIA network).

    My general finding is that students indeed prefer CPTED-based school designs, and that they prefer them for the perceived safety they afford as well as psychological comfort. Student open-ended comments certainly were polarized in terms of what they thought about fencing and large windows (for natural surveillance), but a majority leaned towards preferring CPTED principles.

    Lastly, if you're interested in selling the importance of CPTED to your clients, here's a brand new published article from folks at the CDC. They found that higher adherence to CPTED principles in school design is associated with less violence and higher sense of safety in those schools. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Characteristics Associated With Violence and Safety in Middle Schools. - PubMed - NCBI
    Nih remove preview
    Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Characteristics Associated With Violence and Safety in Middle Schools. - PubMed - NCBI
    J Sch Health. 2018 Apr;88(4):296-305. doi: 10.1111/josh.12609.
    View this on Nih >

    Daniel Lamoreaux, PhD
    School Psychologist
    Sunnyside Unified School District
    Tucson, Arizona

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 19.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-29-2018 07:01 PM
    I have spent the last 42 years, and counting, as a licensed Architect working over and over again in the public education arena.  Every single project on which I have ever been involved has been challenged by budgetary constraints in both construction and operation. Design choices that consistently demonstrated the potential for exemplary life-cycle results were routinely abandoned due to first-cost budgetary constraints. From indoor air-quality to choice of user-friendly materials to exterior landscaping and on and on, every non-statutory recommendation would eventually be deemed "frivolous" or "too expensive" or "gold-plating" and then dropped.  For example, until ADA became the law, almost no school systems would expend the added resources necessary to construct entrances and playgrounds and cafeterias that were user-friendly for the mobility impaired. As a culture, we have treated public education as a grudging necessity - and only barely. Witness teacher salaries and student/teacher ratios and the use of "temporary" classroom structures (that have never been temporary) to avoid new construction. In Texas, public school construction is financed via an ad valorem tax on local real estate. To protect themselves from ever-increasing property taxes, home owners, especially those who no longer have children in public school, regularly vote against school bond initiatives. In an effort to mitigate public resistance to a school bond, the local School Board of a non-affluent School District will often strip every non-regulated, non-statutory feature from a proposed school building. One can only imagine the eventual fate of the many non-statutory yet worthwhile, logical, potentially life-saving features of a well-conceived Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design palette of constructed components once the anti-tax, anti-government citizenry goes to the polls to vote in a school bond referendum that will raise their property taxes. As with any brilliant concept that, God forbid, adds to the cost of construction, even the idea of using passive systems to protect our children will end up as controversial.

    Phil Scott AIA
    GSC Architects
    Austin TX

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 20.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-30-2018 05:20 PM
    Perfect Response Phil Scott, AIA!!!

    Frank Cunha AIA
    University Architect
    Montclair State University
    Hamburg NJ

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 21.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 03-30-2018 11:12 PM

    We are over taxed! We need a shift in government funding. A re-balancing of funding priorities is needed. Simply throwing money at the school districts solves very little too, since it tends to get absorbed into salaries. We know our economic prosperity is directly correlated with the level of education our entire populace achieves. With this in mind our investment in economic growth should begin with funding education. That is not enough. We need to fund only projects that are supported by a pedagogy that allows all learners to succeed with STEM, STEAM and project based learning. Teacher to student ratios that are effective and school sizes that are appropriate to the population served.

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 22.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 04-10-2018 05:51 PM
    ​There have been some great comments to my original post.  I am happy to see that some are able to get out of the rhetoric and approach this issue from the standpoint of what we can do as a design profession using our unique skill set to contribute to the solution.  I am however disappointed that AIA National continues to remain quiet on this topic.  Immediately after natural disasters, we see several stories discussing resilience, safety assessments, etc.  Even topics such as #MeToo are currently getting coverage on AIA's website.  Why is AIA remaining quiet on such a critical issue?

    Reuters is running an article today in which discusses education funds are shifting to school safety.  (After Parkland shooting, U.S. states shift education funds to...
    U.S. remove preview
    After Parkland shooting, U.S. states shift education funds to...
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Before the ink could dry on Florida Governor Rick Scott's signature last month, critics cried foul over the bill he signed into law to spend $400 million boosting security at schools across the state following February's Parkland mass shooting.
    View this on U.S. >

    As one response to this topic noted, just throwing money at Districts is likely not going to yield a great solution.  Architects have a great opportunity to provide leadership on this issue but it won't happen if we are a bystander.  This has been a polarizing topic​ in which I think AIA could stand out and provide direction with real options and strategies.  AIA, let's throw our hat in the ring and be a leader.

    Ryan Monson AIA
    Monson Architects, Inc.

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free

  • 23.  RE: School Safety

    Posted 06-21-2018 11:20 AM
    Today, AIA posted an article that addresses school safety and design.  It is a good read.

    Architects prioritize design as a school security solution
    Aia remove preview
    Architects prioritize design as a school security solution
    How well can anyone plan for the chaos and violence of a school shooting? Architects are positioning themselves as experts in the national conversation.
    View this on Aia >

    Ryan Monson AIA
    Monson Architects, Inc.
    Tieton WA

    committee on architecture for education event design for energy oct. 21  2-3 pm ET 1 LU free