School Safety Architecture

I had the great pleasure to work with an extremely talented group of school safety experts recently.  I had an opportunity to work with a nationally recognized Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) expert Tod Schneider along with a group of architects and engineers from Parkhill, Smith and Cooper (PSC).   PSC staff included Allan Wolf, Ken Johnson and Miles Hardaway who is both an engineer and an architect.  PSC has more than 350 staff with about 60 of them assigned on school construction projects full-time.  Ken Johnson has worked on approximately 150 Department of Defense projects around the globe and has an extraordinary base of experience in school safety architecture. 

Our team was evaluating the school safety architecture design approaches being used by large school district as part of a larger school safety assessment project.  I also had the opportunity to work with engineer Jonathan Zeigner for a week to evaluate traffic flow in relation to school safety a few weeks before for the same project. 

I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a number of really sharp architects and engineers on these types of projects and always learn new things.  I have found these professionals are very good at taking the time to explain building design concepts to me in terms I can understand.  I have also had the privilege to work with Tod on a number of occasions and have learned new things from him on each occasion.  A quiet, bright, and thoughtful man, Tod is always a true joy to work with on school safety architecture projects.

Visiting an array of prototype schools, reviewing blueprints, and talking with a number of exceptional building administrators, security personnel, school resource officers, and district facilities personnel, our team was able to identify a number of opportunities for improvement for a school district that is already well above average in the area of school safety architecture.  These types of projects are truly fascinating and it has always impressed me how a good architect or engineer can break down fairly complex design concepts so building administrators, school resource officers, and folks like me who lack their technical background so we can understand them.

I am really looking forward to my next opportunity to work with another team of architects and engineers in a different school system next month to evaluate school safety architecture once again.

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.