Zion Lutheran School
The requirements of educational establishments are always changing, and when it comes to security, there’s never been a greater need for peace of mind than in today’s schools. Recognizing this, Zion Lutheran School’s administration trusted Aptitude Design & Build to enhance the school’s floor plan and surveillance system to create a more modern and efficient environment that offers optimal safety for students, staff and parents alike.
Remodeling the entryway was the first step, says Aptitude founder Matt Mierek. “From a security aspect, they wanted to have an area where people could enter the school from the front door in a controlled vestibule space,” he says. Visitors can now enter an initial set of doors to access the front vestibule, where they are able to converse with the school’s receptionists via a sliding window before being welcomed into the main thoroughfare of the school.
A new system comprised of four cameras and screens within the reception area lets staff monitor the arrival of guests and lock or unlock vestibule doors as needed via a magnetic lock system—a significant improvement upon the former setup. “The school previously had one little keypad camera right at the entrance to the school. We removed that and added four other cameras—two on the outside and two on the inside—and put a monitor on the inside where the receptionist sits. All the doors are controlled by her from her office via keypad, so she can unlock one or both doors easily,” Mierek explains.
Space limitations were also a concern. Aptitude seized the opportunity to configure the school’s office in a way that would benefit staff and provide more space for storage. “We redid some of the offices, pulling down old walls to make more usable office space for each person. We were even able to add another office by reconfiguring the walls,” Mierek says. “We built the new office and installed all new flooring, cabinetry and countertops; as far as the cabinetry, we gave them a lot more storage space, especially in the reception area.”
As the hub of the school, this area is home to countless documents, so paperwork storage was top of mind. “With all the paperwork that goes into running a school, it helps to have it right by the receptionists.” Another bonus: The reconfigured area allowed space for two receptionists—rather than one—to sit at the entrance.
As any parent or teacher can attest, longevity is key when designing within a school. Mierek worked closely with the staff to choose materials and colors that would blend well with the existing school’s finishes but would prioritize durability. “We really tried to play off of the existing colors in the hallways to make sure the new, revamped area had longevity in terms of how it would stand up to people walking on it constantly. We picked a flooring called LVT that stands up to mud, dirt, salt, snow … basically everything that happens when kids are walking through the school,” Mierek explains.
The resulting space is everything a modern school should be, thanks to Aptitude’s thoughtful planning and attention to detail. “It’s more efficient, it can fit more people in the same space and it’s just more secure,” Mierek says.
Zion Lutheran School
St. Charles, MO