Choosing Attack Resistant Wood Doors for Schools Amid Safety Concerns
Designing a school is a huge responsibility. “More than other building types,” the National Institute of Building Sciences says, “school facilities have a profound impact on their occupants and the functions of the building, namely teaching and learning.” When designing or renovating a school, your choices for educational doors and other design features can thus affect the lives of multiple generations and an entire community.
Whether you’re building a new school, renovating older classrooms, or simply looking to learn more about student safety, here’s everything to know about designing safer schools using attack resistant wood doors.
School Safety in the 21st Century
In the 21st century, school design means more than good aesthetics or responsible building practices. One of the greatest concerns today is how to keep students and teachers safe from what the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) calls “adversarial- and human-caused threats.”
Schools are conducting active shooter drills and implementing “Stop the Bleed” training. Communities are holding public meetings or convening expert panels discussing how to keep students safe from active shooters. In this environment, any school design or renovation plans must account for concerns about safety from violence. While a school’s layout, color scheme, and interior décor all still matter, designers should account for how a building protects occupants from threats.
One way to make a school building safer, for example, is by installing attack resistant safety doors. Architectural wood safety doors can be fitted for classrooms, corridors, gym entrances, teacher’s lounges, and other areas where people congregate. Wood safety doors provide durability and sophistication, but they can also help deter intruders and threats, especially when the doors are used in conjunction with emergency management planning.
Designing Schools for Safety: The Four Ds
It can be a challenge to balance security needs with a nurturing educational environment. Schools are not prisons, after all. You will want to find aesthetically attractive elements that incorporate safety features.
The Public Safety Commission that investigated the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recommends that schools undertake target hardening. This strategy comprises “the four Ds” of physical security: deny access, delay the act, detect the crime, and deter the attack.
While critics are apt to point out that target hardening alone cannot eliminate all danger, many schools seek any and all measures that add up to a safer learning environment. Recommended building tactics that fulfill the four Ds of target hardening include things like curved hallways and other features that limit a potential shooter’s line of sight, situating a school on raised ground, and installing “safe rooms.” Additionally, every school needs to safeguard its entrances with secure safety doors, which play a part in at least three of the four Ds.
How Attack Resistant Doors Work in Schools
Education presents a major opportunity for commercial construction. A 2016 report estimated that $49 billion is being invested annually into building new school facilities. It’s not only new construction that’s taking place, but also renovations and retrofitting. The average age of a school in the U.S. is 44 years, and the majority need new interior doors and more infrastructure upgrades.
The Window and Door Manufacturer Association (WDMA) specifies commercial door standards, namely heavy duty and extra heavy duty standards for architectural wood doors. Doors built to these standards are designed for heavy and frequent use, making them ideal doors for schools.
While many commercial doors have performance attributes, not all heavy duty doors are attack resistant. In the absence of truly attack resistant doors, some schools apply security film to windows and door lites. The externally applied plastic is intended to keep glass from becoming shrapnel in the case of a blast. However, it only provides attack resistance for a matter of seconds. Another misconception about school building safety is that hurricane rated doors or windows can stop an intruder or violent attack, but that is not what they’re designed for.
According to Campus Life Security, “Attack resistant openings are ideal for new school construction as well as for retrofit applications.” Attack resistant doors delay access by an attacker for the critical minutes until emergency services arrive. To work effectively, the door, hardware, and glass must all function as a unit.
Note: Attack resistant opening solutions are comprised of the frame, door, hardware and glass.
Where to Find Architectural Attack Resistant Doors
Realizing you need attack resistant doors is only the first step to designing a safer school. Next, you have to find the highest quality educational door products while also staying within your budget, especially for a tax-payer funded school project.
Masonite Architectural and Armoured One have teamed up to develop an attack resistant door solution—creating an added layer of protection designed to slow an active shooter from entering a room, allowing more time for the occupants to react and for the police to respond.
The attack resistant door opening solution features Armoured One Glass and Masonite Architectural’s Aspiro Series doors, along with standard door frames, metal vision kits, and reinforced hardware. When combined, these elements are designed to resist up to 237J of force after bullet degradation.
The Shooter Attack Test Method used to test the product is not an industry or government published standard but is based on two recognized test standards (UL 752 Level 7 / ASTM F476) that were modified and combined per recommendations from law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and active shooter subject matter experts.
The product is not bullet resistant, but rather a solution designed to slow down an attacker using materials within a budget that allows owners to better protect more building occupants (students, workers, etc.). Masonite Architectural has long been a leader in high-impact commercial doors but is working with Armoured One because of their expertise in whole building security. This allows builders and project owners to identify and prioritize the best investments to provide safer educational environments.
Tested with a variety of surfaces and elevations to meet the design intent for multiple project types, the solution for attack resistant school doors is available across Masonite’s Aspiro Series of flush and stile and rail doors. For more information, contact a representative for your location.
Masonite Architectural – Want help?
Our expert field of Territory Sales Managers can help guide you through the process. We’ll make sure you get the perfect doors to delight your clients on opening day (and for years to come).
We can apply our expertise of wood type, grain, stain and door design to complement your space. Often, designers give door hardware more consideration than the door itself. Masonite Architectural knows the whole opening matters. We offer a wide selection of veneer options and available material choices.
If you’re ready to get started on your current project, you can call 1-877-332-4484 or
email us firstname.lastname@example.org