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New High School Has Features to Foil Shooters

'It will be the most secure high school building in the state'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2019 4:45 AM CDT
A hallway under construction at Fruitport High School.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – A high school in western Michigan has been redesigned to make it harder to kill the students inside. The $48 million project, which includes the building of new sections at Fruitport High School and the renovation of old ones, adds features including curved hallways that would reduce sight lines for school shooters. "When we open it, it will be the most secure high school building in the state," Fruitport Superintendent Bob Szymoniak tells the Washington Post. Other features include cement block bump outs in the hallways to give students a place to hide in the event of a shooting, and "shadow zones" in classrooms where a shooter peering in would be unable to see students along a wall.

The superintendent says the school will also have controlled locks that will allow officials to secure every room with the push of a button, the Hill reports. "These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of buildings going into the future," he says. School shooters are often students, but architect Matt Slagle at the TowerPinkster firm, which also designs prisons, says some features would be hard to overcome even for somebody who knew the building well. Szymoniak says the building will be "magnificent" when it is completed in 2021, WTHR reports—though he wishes the new features weren't necessary. "I don’t want to have to have these conversations," he tells the Post. "I don't want to have to worry about having a school designed to prevent an active shooter." (Bulletproof backpacks are popular back-to-school items this year.)


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