While safety and security have always been an important part of school planning and design, the recent increase in violent school tragedies have renewed the sense of urgency and put safety at the forefront of conversations about school buildings. KG+D has worked with many educational facilities throughout the Lower Hudson Valley to address this critical issue and fortify schools without turning them into fortresses.
“Security in schools often comes down to finding the right balance between visibility and the ability to isolate a portion of the population,” said Russell Davidson, one of the firm’s principal architects. “Completely open plans with lots of glass are and completely closed buildings with no visual connections can be equally inappropriate. The ability to see what is going on and to be seen, behind a secure enclosure, by law enforcement can often lead to a safer environment. Of course this needs to be combined with the ability to find a safe refuge where you cannot be seen when there is an active threat. These are the reasons why security planning is an architectural design challenge often completed in active collaboration with building administrators and security specialists. Each solution is a unique approach that is tailored to the population and the specific building configuration.”
As school architects, our goal is to incorporate secure design solutions without detracting from the impression of the learning environment. The goal is to increase the time it takes to get into and out of buildings; the overall strategy to create delay and in turn create more time for administration to react and for first responders to arrive. While schools cannot be designed completely around aggressive intruders, they can incorporate secure design solutions that increase student and teacher safety.
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Russell A. Davidson, FAIA, Managing Principal + President of KG+D Architects was inaugurated as the 92nd President of the AIA during ceremonies held on December 4th, 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. He succeeds the 91st President, Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, in representing nearly 88,000 AIA members.
“Now is the time to move from good to great and to fully realize the potential of one of our country’s oldest professional associations,” said Davidson at his inauguration. “In an election year we will leverage the attention paid to the future of America to point out that architects, along with our partners in the design and construction industry, not only designed the places that define American cities towns and villages, but also are the leading edge of a major economic force.”
Davidson has held a multitude of elected positions within the AIA including serving as president of AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley in 1999 and president of AIA New York State in 2007. He joined the AIA National Board in 2009 and served as AIA Vice President from 2012-2013. Throughout his national leadership tenure, Davidson has maintained a special focus on government and public advocacy for architects and architecture.
Photo Credit: William Stewart Photography
The new Seven Bridges School is a 160,000 sf middle school that was built on a wooded 43-acre site. The campus is accessed from a long uphill winding driveway paralleling a feeder brook adjacent to the Croton Reservoir. The driveway connects into a perfectly circular loop road that wraps around the new school and lower athletic playing field. Symbolically, this physical and educational plan represents the development of both mind and body together. The building consists of classic materials including brick, cast limestone, natural wood detailing, and copper roofs. The design nestles into the slope of the site, and is one story on the uphill side and two-and-a-half stories from the approach up the driveway.
This complex renovation and expansion of a traditional 1929 brick school building involved the addition of two new major wings at the front of the building and complete infrastructure replacement and restoration. New spaces included a new, state-of-the-art library/media center with telecast capability, science wing, cafeteria, guidance suite and administration. Infrastructure included heating plan replacement, HVAC, window replacement, replicate of slate roof, and masonry restoration.
KG+D collaborated with Ridgefield Academy on a renovated preschool wing. The redesigned wing focused on a concept that maximized natural light, provided direct access to the outdoors, implemented inventive storage space, developed acoustically sound classrooms and created open areas for hands on learning.
KG+D collaborated with Ridgefield Academy to create a student-centered space that would accommodate the school’s emerging programming needs. The result of this collaboration is a brand new technology-rich library learning commons and digital arts lab named “The Bridge.” Major features include the traditional media-infused library, a gallery with flat panel screens to showcase student projects, a filming workshop with green screen technology, and a large Macintosh lab.
Orange Ulster BOCES Regional Education Center at Arden Hill was a major adaptive reuse project of the former Arden Hill Hospital Campus. The project goal was to create a renovated facility that consolidated current programs in close proximity to the neighboring BOCES campus and provided space for increase enrollment and additional offerings. The challenge was to create a facility that was unrecognizable as a hospital campus and clearly identifiable as a welcoming and engaging learning environment.
The Eastchester Middle School was too small to meet the community’s growing needs and programs were overflowing into the adjoining high school spaces. The first phase of the design solution was submitted on a “fast-track” and included the work to reorient the rear entrance and create a construction staging area. The second phase of the project included a large addition to the middle school encompassing 14 new classrooms, 5 additional bathrooms, space reconfiguration, an elevator, an expanded cafeteria, relocation of the special needs classrooms and energy efficient improvements in heating and lighting.
As part of a phased Master Plan for campus development, KG+D completed a new Athletic Center for The Harvey School. The new energy-efficient, high performance Athletic Center includes a gymnasium, fitness center, training facilities, faculty offices and multiple team locker rooms.
KG+D completed a new 24,100sf new Arts Center for The Harvey School. The visual and performing arts facility includes music, art and photography classrooms, video and dance studios and a gallery to display student work. The centerpiece of the project is a 3,400 sq. ft. black box theater designed to seat more than 200. The theater has movable partitions that open to create space for audience overflow into the gallery and as well as a flexible stage that can be moved to accommodate a variety of performances.
The objectives for the Scully Dining Hall project were to increase capacity to serve the entire student and faculty community in one seating and create a cornerstone to enhance the presence of the north entrance to campus. Scully Hall is 40% larger and operates 30% more efficiently than the building it replaced. The centerpiece is a 6,000sf main dining room that seats 400 diners at round tables beneath dramatic curved heavy timber trusses and clerestory windows.
KG+D planned and designed a new 86,000sf synthetic turf field outfitted with a bleacher/pressbox combination and lighting for night games. The David N. Coratti Field replaced an unleveled natural grass field and was relocated to provide for a new West campus entry and ample athletic facility parking. The tennis center includes nine hard-surface courts, viewing areas and a gazebo encompassing storage areas and restroom facilities.
KG+D designed 10 units of faculty housing for Trinity Pawling School with a central green and commons. The objective of the new housing was to attract and retain talented faculty and staff. The new housing units include one large mult-family residence building known as “The Arches” and three single family homes. The physical design is in the tradition of the campus’ original aesthetic and the interior design blends traditional style with contemporary living.
Roslyn High School sought to transform an aging series of disconnected cafeteria spaces into a cohesive, technology-rich cafeteria commons for the students of Roslyn High School. The design solution removed cafeteria and corridor walls to create a bright, open commons with day lighting, views to the outside, access to an outdoor terrace, and 162 additional seats in a more flexible configuration. The Cafeteria Commons also features flat panel monitors, wireless technology and charging stations.
The institute is a new 3-story, 28,000 sf training center for State Judges and their staff. It is the first such facility in the nation, providing continuing education and professional training for a court system on the campus of a university law school.