Photo 220279062 © Andrea Lorini |
shattered glass

Inside September 2022: Windows

Sept. 22, 2022

Letting the light in

When the Unity Reed High School campus in Manassas, Va., opened 50 years ago, windows were not a priority. So for many years, teachers and students spent numerous hours in classrooms without the benefits of daylight.

But a brighter future has arrived at Unity reed this school year. The Prince William Times reports that Prince William County district has undertaken a significant modernization at Unity Reed, which until 2020 was named Stonewall Jackson High School.

Workers have added windows to 30 Unity Reed classrooms, and the entire front façade of the building has a new look. Construction workers will return next summer to add more windows to classrooms in the back of the building. It is one of five school campuses in the Prince William County district where additional windows will be installed in the coming years.

After the district constructed high schools in recent years that featured plenty of windows that admitted ample quantities of daylight into classrooms, many of Unity Reed's 2,400 students complained to administrators that the facility needs on their aging campus were not a priority. Students and teachers complained that the Unity Reed's solid-brick exterior “looked like a prison."

In early 2020, district administrators heard those complaints and proposed installing windows at Unity Reed and other aging schools. The Prince William County School Board subsequently approve an allocation of about $30.2 million to install windows at four high schools--Unity Reed, Osbourn Park, Gar-Field and Woodbridge--and Graham Park Middle School.  All were built in the 1960s and 1970s when many school designs eschewed windows in the name of better energy efficiency.

Wisconsin district unveils campus renovation 

Skylights to bring natural light into the building interior are one of the notable features of the renovated Dodgeland School District building in Juneau, Wis.

The Watertown Daily News reports that the upgraded campus, paid for with a $17 million bond referendum approved in 2020, welcomed students in September.

The improvements include a 4,000-square -foot addition that house STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) classrooms, large spaces outside classrooms for students to work together, hop spaces in the middle/high school portion of the building, and new playground equipment 

Dodgeland Superintendent Jessica Johnson said the renovation and expansion provides badly needed additional spaces for students.   

Texas district bolsters window security

The Round Rock (Texas) Independent School District has installed bullet-resistant film on the glass of front doors and windows at all of its elementary and middle school campuses. 

The district says it paid for the window security with some of a $815,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency to bolster security. In addition to fortifying its windows, the district has installed more fencing and surveillance cameras at its schools and a software service that keeps track of students' online interactions and activities.

Many school systems across the nation have sought to bolster campus security in the aftermath of the May shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two adults. The Arkansas School Safety Commission recommended in August that school windows should be covered with shatterproof film


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