DKA to design a safer Daycare in Connecticut   Leave a comment

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DKA to design a safer Daycare in Connecticut

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Discussion about school safety used to center around round edges and the ability to wash and clean surfaces such as this previous DKA design for a nursery school.   After the string of school tragedies that recently culminated in the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, schools now have emergency crisis plans including lockdown drills.  

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As life would have it, Dennis Kowal Architects is designing a Day Care and Nursery School in Connecticut just blocks from the St. John’s Cemetery where one of the Sandy Hook students is now interred.   Safety was already a priority for this project, but the madness that occurred at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School  has naturally prompted more discussion and design.   Some of the design features being incorporated into the plan include moving the parked cars away from the building and locating the playgrounds directly outside the school doors as much as possible creating a land buffer.   Also, fire walls are being used inside to compartmentalize the facility and unrelated uses are being moved out of the classroom zones to reduce the amount of casual intrusions.

Disasters don’t always strike the same way twice, so an effective design approach considers natural disasters, a variety of attacks, and various vulnerabilities.   Since the 1999 Columbine massacre, many agencies such as FEMA and the Department of Education have provided schools with design guidelines;  such as not selecting sites in a depressed land area which would tend to collect and hold toxic gases in the event of a spill.    Common sense has resulted in limited entry points with controlled access and administration or other supervision close to the entry.   Some schools mark the exterior windows with the interior room numbers for quick navigation by first responders.

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DKA designed this classroom with two interior exit doors and one door that opens directly to the playground for ease of supervision and safe movement.  Safety provisions in this religious education wing, such as the DKA Dutch door solution prevent parents from entering classrooms when they sign out for their children.  Color coding from floor tiles to the matching color chairs and carpets help small children navigate; whether an emergency or normal day.
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Earlier designs for the Noroton Presbyterian Church classrooms included two level playgrounds attached to the building and a glass stair tower that provided instant views around the entire five acre site as well as over the playground areas. Translucent window shades were used in this Maryland classroom by DKA to allow natural light while eliminating direct views in from outside.    Emergency crisis plans typically involve covering classroom windows, locking the doors and having students pause in silence under their desks. 
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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS designs safe environments for learning!

 

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Unrelated advertisement below;  Please leave a comment about this blog in the comment box below the advertisement or click on more stories from the category list at the upper left top of this blog.

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Posted January 9, 2013 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Children Spaces

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