The West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) recently approved a safety measure that will require new schools built in the state to have shatter-resistant glass, according to SBA executive director Mark Manchin.
“The SBA voted to require that all new schools funded with our funds to have shatter-proof glass at the front entry and sidelites,” Manchin tells USGNN.com™/USGlass magazine. “This will start immediately with schools in design.”
The requirement will become part of the state’s “Quality and Performance Standards.”
“Other than broad requirements, we are going to allow the design professionals to specify the type of glass in their bid specs,” says Manchin. “We will review [the plans].”
A 2011 version of the “Quality and Performance Standards” document notes that the guide aims “to provide a design standard and level of quality for building systems and materials to be incorporated into new school facilities funded by the SBA.”
The earlier version of the document required ¼-inch safety glass infill in schools’ main entrance doors and frames; a flush glazing system for 1-inch insulating glass in storefront framing; tempered safety glass (Category II ANSI Z97.1) in all fixed interior frames; and factory-glazed 1-inch insulating glass with a low-E coating in aluminum windows.
The 2011 document also noted that wired glass “is prohibited and shall not be installed.”
The Quality and Performance Standards document is developed and maintained by the SBA, which is made up of several state officials, along with design professionals, contractors, suppliers and professional educators, according to the document.
Local media outlets in West Virginia had reported earlier this year that legislators there were asking state officials to budget for installing bullet-resistant glass as they renovate and build new schools, in light of last December’s Connecticut school tragedy.
Meanwhile, national legislation, titled “The School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act of 2013,” is pending in the Senate; it was introduced this January and passed out of committee in April. Likewise, the “School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in April. The Senate version of the bill aims to “enhance the safety of America’s schools,” while the House version would specifically “amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to enhance the safety of America’s schools.”
Both bills aim to set up a grant program through which grants would be provided to local communities and schools throughout the United States to improve safety within the schools.
The Senate bill remained under the Senate’s review at press time, while the House version was still under committee review.
Editor’s note: The May issue of USGlass magazine features an in-depth look at the issue of glazing in schools. Click here to view the issue.