The building’s new design includes curved hallways to cut down on an active shooter’s sight line and a “shadow zone” in each classroom.
All classrooms in the 850-student school will have hallways, impact-resistance window film and a corner — called a “shadow zone” — that can’t be seen from the hallway and is large enough to hide an entire classroom out of sight.
Administrators will also have the ability to lock doors instantly with the push of a button and each classroom can be opened and locked using an electronic key card. In the event of a mass shooting, a security official located off-site can use the access control to override the locks or shut doors.
The new curved hallways throughout the building include cement block bump-outs (seen in the hallway images below) for students and teachers to hide behind.
Fruitport Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said adding these layers of safety will buy students, teachers and staff time, saving lives as police respond.
“These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of buildings going into the future,” he said.
The school approached architecture firm TowerPinkster, whose lead architect proposed integrating design elements that could also function as security, according to Insider.
“Part of the beauty of the design elements was that none of the security features make it look like they are security features,” said Szymoniak, adding that school officials and the firm made a significant effort to ensure they weren’t creating an overly militarized, anxiety-inducing environment.
The biggest problems Szymoniak foresees as construction continues is with parking and the fact that students won’t have lockers for some time. However, Szymoniak believes the end product will be worth any temporary inconveniences.
“This building will be the safest, most secure building in the state of Michigan when it opens,” he said. “Our ask is that our community be very understanding, keep the eyes on the prize because when our high school is done, it’s going be magnificent.”
A community open house is being planned for October and a special event will be held in December to unveil the new classrooms.
More detailed information on the project can be found here, including construction photos, drone footage and TowerPinkster’s initial design presentation.