A move to pay more attention to how schools are designed, in an effort to make them both more safe and energy efficient, is being promoted by the American Institute of Architects.
As officials of that group are meeting with congressional leaders in Washington, William Batles, AIA president, released a statement declaring, “We need lawmakers to hear firsthand how architects are creative problem-solvers who see the big picture and bring the innovative instinct and technical knowledge that is needed to address many of our most challenging issues.”
Specifically, the organization is asking Congress to make design services eligible for existing federal grants.
The group has also said that it wants to see established a federally-run clearinghouse of design resources that could be regularly tapped by education officials when planning or building a new school facility.
In a “Where We Stand” statement, the AIA has additionally noted: “Much of the public debate about school safety has focused on access to firearms and mental health services. Neither approach to solving school violence has progressed much over many years despite all-too-frequent tragedies.”
The statement added: “Architects can improve school safety through the power of design now.”
The clearinghouse idea won the support late last year of the Federal Commission on School Safety.
On the issue of making school buildings more energy efficient, the AIA is asking Congress to establish a new tax incentive that would allow for enhancing energy efficiency features in both new and existing structures.
By Garry Boulard
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