In December of 2012, the tragic slaying of 20 children and 6 teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School by a lone gunman plunged our nation into grief and ignited a fierce debate over school security measures. In the wake of this tragedy, our Security team was selected to participate in the State of Connecticut Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a group of professionals and lawmakers tasked with developing recommendations to help protect our state’s schools.
In parallel with that effort, our team was tasked with developing a comprehensive security program incorporating physical security features, electronic security systems, and staffing. A key benchmark for future school security projects, the 87,160 ft² Sandy Hook School design has been developed under heavy debate and scrutiny from the public, lawmakers, and industry professionals. Every phase of the project has prompted meaningful dialogue on the role of security in schools and has presented aspects of the design on many occasions to educators and industry groups alike in an effort to continue and advance those conversations.
We worked with a number of groups throughout the design process, including the design team, local, state, and federal government, and a building committee comprised of town officials, board of education members, security staff, teachers, and parents of local students. Through this committee, we educated, refined, and garnered consensus on the approach for securing the new school. Throughout the process, we also worked with manufacturers to test and validate new architectural and electronic products, incorporating some of these products into the school design. Each of these decisions was thoroughly vetted and approved through the committee before being incorporated. It is believed that the result of this process accomplishes our primary objective for the project: to create the safest school pragmatically possible without adversely impacting the educational mission of the facility.