Architects, query on school security...
by kbyrnes (2012-12-16 12:09:33)
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...how much would it cost (average aggregate cost, per door, etc.) to install security doors to each classroom and event area (gym, library, etc.) that could be centrally operated? E.g., pocket-style doors that on a central command will slide shut. We were just batting around, here on the home front, what further measures could be taken to protect kids at school from possible incidents like Newtown.

One thing that entered my thinking: buildings are often designed, in many respects, for peak conditions. For example, the elevator capacity for a high-rise office building in downtown Chicago must accommodate peak demand, not average demand. So, with regard to school security, shouldn't we design for the peak exigency?


They want every school to look like The Guns of Navarone *
by Frank Drebin  (2012-12-17 09:40:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


It would be cheaper to hire armed security personnel *
by abqgant  (2012-12-16 16:37:55)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Hell, schools are flush with cash these days. *
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-16 16:48:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


that's why millions should be spent turning them into
by abqgant  (2012-12-16 17:08:37)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

fortresses with electronic impenetrable doors.


Guard towers with machine guns! *
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster)  (2012-12-17 07:26:01)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


That's smally timey.
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-16 17:13:31)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Millions? Think billions.

Better that than waste it on bloated teachers pensions, though.


God, that would be horrible. *
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-16 15:51:30)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


God???
by JoeMcLaughlin  (2012-12-17 09:51:48)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Perhaps some of us didn't get the memos from the ACLU and the atheists.

God isn't in the conversation at schools, at least in the context as creator of all things.

Ummm, is it possible that history is once again showing us that with no God there is no peace?


You must not spend much time in schools, it's not a jail
by ndgenius  (2012-12-16 14:05:27)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

which is what you're describing. In a typical school (Elem, JrH, HS) you constantly have people in and out of the room either for bathroom, messaging, extra help in the hallway, discipline, etc.

I'm not an architect but I'm involved in the design of K-12 schools as a construction manager...schools today are being designed less as "institutions" and more "airy and warm" because the studies say that it promotes greater learning. What you're talking about is essentially building a jail for the remote times this happens which hurts the learning process.

In this CT instance, the kid could have come in, shot everyone in the central dispatch area and either switched open the doors or simply pulled a fire alarm which would have set all of the doors to automatically open so the kids could exit the building.

While I am deeply saddened by this and quite honestly I'm trying to avoid it because I start crying when I hear interviews I'm of the philosophy that we can't "knee-jerk" react to a deranged individual. You can make buildings like jails, take away guns and there's still going to be crazy deranged people that find a way to hurt innocents. My solution is to eliminate cable news networks because they sensationalize everything and also have our country completely torn between left and right. This country used to work together and now we only come together after a horrible tragedy like 9/11 or this school shooting.


Well, I spent about 20 years in school buildings of 1 sort..
by kbyrnes  (2012-12-16 14:47:46)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...or another, from a 1950's era 2-story Catholic elementary school of brick and block construction, a a 1950's era Catholic h.s. of similar construction, to ND, to the University of Chicago. So I think I realize that schools are not jails!

OK, now that that's out of the way...my thought was just a stream of consciousness item, tossed up for feedback, which I appreciate (in your case, your penultimate paragraph makes sense in relation to the concept I was advancing). I understand that "airy and warm" is one design concept out there (I am an appraiser and have valued schools); but no matter how airy and warm you want things to be, you have to address safety issues. I guess my question evolves into, what else can be done, reasonably, to safeguard against these situations which are very rare, but when they happen are gargantuanly disastrous. I doubt that we are at the absolute apex or pinnacle of design concept when it comes to school security.


Almost every school (since Columbine) has a single point
by ndgenius  (2012-12-16 17:49:10)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

of entry and all other doors and access points are locked down. My wife is also an elementary teacher (has taught K, 2, 3) and they do significant drills twice a year and she said that teachers get reprimanded when they don't barricade the door with something at least 6 feet high.

Perhaps a better solution for your idea (rather than having a central dispatch for the doors) is to have reinforced steel sliding doors on the inside of the classrooms that are on good ball bearings so that the teachers can slide them shut and really lock down. My wife said because many teachers are small females that they don't have the strength to push/slide heavy bookcases in front of the door. This interior manual steel door would be a cost effective solution.

Basically my thought is if someone is hell bent on ending lives, they are going to find a way to do it. The key in those situations is to minimize loss and if it takes someone dying in the office while pushing the alarm to eliminate the slaughtering of classrooms that's the unfortunate cost of the terrorist.


Perhaps making sure all rooms had two exits would be...
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-16 13:53:25)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

More feasible.




This is a code requirement for day care facilities.
by Ksqdomer  (2012-12-16 14:15:26)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Individual rooms with children must have an exit door directly to the exterior. I would guess that the majority of Elementary schools are single story and this would be easy to retrofit.


I thought that was only in non-sprinklered facilities.
by ndroman21  (2012-12-16 14:33:07)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Seems like a good idea, though.


I believe you are right, and yes it is a fire safety issue.
by Ksqdomer  (2012-12-17 08:48:01)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

but it's an easy design element to incorporate.


I can think of few situations more deadly...
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-16 14:44:10)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Than a trained gunman blocking the lone point of egress from a room. It would take a concerted, group effort to overcome that. One that would go against all natural instincts (I.e., running towards danger en masse instead of away from it.)


Maybe, but the codes are written mostly for fire safety.
by ndroman21  (2012-12-16 14:47:38)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

2 exits are currently required from spaces with 50 or more occupants.


And when that central system fails and crushes
by 88_92WSND  (2012-12-16 12:46:15)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

a kid's hand, or when the electrical short in the security system causes a fire and all of the security doors slam shut with the kids trapped in the room. Or, it leads to a change in tactics. Don't storm in, set a smoky fire in a rest room and camp at the bottom of the stairs. Walling up and sealing off won't solve this problem. It's not a new one - read about the Bath School disaster.


Regarding your last paragraph...
by John@Indy  (2012-12-16 12:24:57)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...the typical downtown office building reaches something approaching its peak elevator demand five times a week if the building is fully leased. Nothing similar to what happened in Newtown will ever happen at 99 percent of the school buildings in this country. The frightening reality is that an assailant who has the element of surprise and doesn't care if he dies in the act can kill a hell of a lot of people. Perhaps the assault couldn't have worked in the precise was as it worked in Newtown, but it could happen.

Imagine applying "peak exigency" design to automobiles.

Of course I am not an architect, so I have no constructive role in this thread.


Yes. A more appropriate example might be
by hick  (2012-12-16 12:43:16)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

structural design for buildings. Almost no buildings are capable of surviving a direct hit from a tornado. It's possible to calculate the forces that a tornado applies, and build a structure that can withstand them, but virtually no one does it, and building codes don't require it. The likelihood of a direct tornado hit is so low that protection of property and life you'd get from bomb-shelter-like buildings are outweighed by the additional cost and inconvenience caused that building every structure that way.

The odds of a mass shooting like this in any individual school are infinitesimally small. You say nothing like that will happen in 99% of schools, but really it's more like 99.999%.


True, but on the other hand there are...
by kbyrnes  (2012-12-16 12:49:00)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...buildings designed to be earthquake proof in areas where a serious quake might happen once a century. Similarly, homes purchased with loans funded through federal programs have to have flood insurance if they are in Zone A, the 100-year chance of flood area. And considering that the peak outcome is mass death, it's at least worth considering. Many safety features that were once considered too costly and/or inconvenient are everyday features of modern automobiles.

Anyway, my main point was not to insist such measures be taken, but wondering what they might, in fact, cost. $1,000 per door--$5,000--$10,000? I don't know.


I'd bet a couple of grand per door
by hick  (2012-12-16 13:20:09)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm an architect, but I've never worked on a prison or anything like that. It's hard to say. I'm sure there's a big price range. You'd probably have to talk to a specialized security consultant to see what the whole system would cost, with controls, etc.

Designing for a 100 year flood isn't really comparable to designing for a mass shooting. 100 year floods, by definition, have a 1% likelihood of occurring each year. That's way, way more likely than a mass shooting. I like the tornado analogy better.

My general point is that people need to think rationally about the trade-offs involved in any decision. (And I'm not saying you aren't.) A lot of people are so traumatized by these outlier events that they want to just DO SOMETHING, even if it eventually turns out to be costly and mostly pointless.


After Columbine, VT, and this in a 13 year span...
by IrishGeek  (2012-12-16 17:49:06)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It's starting to look more like an earthquake than a tornado.


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