PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — From the second you park your car to the long walk you make to the entrance of Weiss High School in Pflugerville Independent School District, every moment is watched closely.
Cameras are mounted outside and inside the school, but also several people stationed at the front entrance are looking for anything unusual.
It’s the campus of the future equipped with the latest technology and security.
“Because of recent events, the focus and the intensity and the persistence of the conversation about safety and security has become stronger,” said architect Ian Powell, a partner at PBK Architects. “The conversations are more frequent, they are deeper. The thinking process related to it is deeper.”
The architecture firm which is based in Houston specializes in school safety. PBK works with more than a hundred Texas school Chiefs of Police to create best practices that could be implemented at schools across the state.
Texas School and Security Council helps streamline those safety recommendations after lessons learned from recent school shootings.
“Slow down the active shooter. Make them have some work around. Make them have barriers. Make them have things to where law enforcement has a chance to get there,” said Alan Bragg, Retired Chief of Police and Executive Director of Texas School Safety and Security Council.
From the front entry desk to the long hallway and visible library, it’s all part of the design to make the campus safer. Another important architectural feature includes clearly-marked entrances.
“Literally identifying the doors at the exterior of the campus can be one of the most effective ways of letting a first responder know where should I go,” said Powell. “If there’s a human threat somewhere in the campus that they’re trying to respond to, if someone has had a medical emergency — a campus of this size probably many hundred thousand square feet — when you pull into this campus, if you don’t get to the doorway as rapidly as you can to respond to whatever the circumstance is inside, you may lose precious seconds.”
School shootings are pushing more districts to make changes, but Powell said it’s not a one size fits all formula for every school.
PBK also works with Leander, Round Rock and Manor ISD. The security features are paid for through bond packages.