Higher Education campuses comprise facilities as varied as their curricula — law and medical schools, military schools, state and city institutions — but they all share a common need to provide for the education, comfort, safety and security of students, staff and visitors at all times.
The range of occupancy types on a campus and the variety of door openings needed to meet the requirements of each space can vary greatly. Setting aside a campus's ongoing requirements for door openings that meet life safety and security codes, provide access control, and are thermally efficient, there are many special door opening attributes to be considered.
Acoustics & Sound Control
In assembly spaces where occupants gather to watch movies theatrical and musical performances, or other entertainment presentations, acoustic requirements and aesthetics are important for assuring a pleasant experience. Band and music rooms, classrooms and lecture halls require sound transmission controlled door openings that help control noise and reduce distracting sound.
A campus is often like a small city, with a range of on-campus businesses, including bookstores, copy centers, laundromats, convenience and grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, even healthcare facilities and many other student support areas. Each facility has access control requirements and typically, those access control requirements should be integrated.
Doors and hardware that resist corrosive materials are routinely required for biomedical facilities, laboratories, science areas, medical centers and dental and medical schools. Even food preparation areas and aquatic facilities require anti-corrosive door opening requirements that can best be addressed with stainless steel doors and frames. In these occupancy areas, a door opening’s resilience to corrosive materials and its capacity to undergo thorough cleaning procedures is a critical requirement.
According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the top trigger for green building construction and upgrades has shifted from being the “right thing to do” in 2008, to being “demanded by clients” in 2015. The most important factor driving the US market to build green is in fact, client demand. Sustainable door opening solutions are aimed at making buildings more energy efficient, while being produced with minimal resource consumption. From energy-efficient openings that improve building thermal performance, to products produced with rapidly renewable materials and recycled content, today’s doors and door hardware systems are rising to meet the challenge.
As school building and campus designers strive toward net-zero energy goals, every aspect of a building’s plug load becomes crucial — even the draw of electronic access control systems — must be thoroughly understood and considered. As the built environment strives to be as energy efficient, green, and healthy as possible, high-performance commercial doors and hardware will play a large, supporting role.
The physical characteristics of academic environments are credited with improved student attendance, reduced behavior and disciplinary problems, and lower faculty attrition. Aesthetics are making a difference. Further, Colleges and Universities are competing for students and faculty, and the appearance of the campus environment can afford a very real competitive advantage. Modern campuses with academic facilities and student accommodations that are beautiful, comfortable, quiet and secure have a very favorable impact on student enrollment and on reducing faculty attrition.
It's critical that the building materials used in higher education institutions be attractive and durable, and provide for an appropriate level of comfort, safety and security. And, because doors and door hardware are typically the first points of contact for anyone entering a building, like no other design element, they immediately impact our experience and inform our impression of the space.