How Utah Architects Design for School Safety

School Safety Good Morning Utah Curtis Livingston

Curtis Miner Architecture and ABC4Utah: Creating Safe, Secure Education Facilities for Children,Teachers and the Community

In the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting, ABC4Utah’s Brian Carlson had a timely question: What are Utah schools doing to protect kids in class? On a recent Good Morning Utah broadcast, Brian spoke with our very own education architecture specialist Curtis Livingston, AIA, who is designing some of the safety features for a new high school being built by the Canyons School District, among others.

“Safety is always the first priority when we’re looking at school design,” says Curtis. “We want to impede intruders from entering the building, but we want to provide a welcoming environment for the students and the community.”

School Safety Quote

One of the precautions Canyons School District is implementing is the installation of secure entry vestibules at each of their schools. This requires that all the doors in the rest of the building be locked, and that visitors enter through the main entry of the building, in the main office.

Other high-tech solutions include electronic locks, shatter-proof glass, and high-tech cameras. Innovative building materials, such as tamper-resistant door hinges, bullet-resistant barriers and window glazing, are also being used to add to the protection of those inside.

A more low-tech solution includes locating the campus out of visibility of main roads, with graded landscapes that shield playgrounds and buildings, so that views directly into the schools are obstructed from potential intruders.

Livingston stresses that these tools are only as good as the people who are trained to use them. He emphasizes that it is very important for architects to collaborate with teachers, principals, and administrators to provide architectural design of K12 buildings to fit their school’s unique emergency response protocols.

For more information on Utah architectural design for K12 facility safety, visit