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RE: Philosophy of School Design - Was: Long Beach CA

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I was not trying to say to design schools to a lower factor of safety than other structures simply because they are schools... I think my comments may have been misunderstood.

I believe in designing to protect the structure and the intended occupants based on the value of the occupants, whether that is people or "stuff".  

I have 3 small children and of course I do everything in my power to protect them.  I do not want them to die before me as I agree that would be almost unbearable to live with.  My point is that I do not believe my attitude regarding that issue will change when they become teenagers, or young adults or even when they may someday live in a retirement home (even though I won't be around to witness that).

Schools (and many other structures) MUST be designed to a higher factor of safety than an individual house (or a lot of other structures, for that matter).  In my opinion, the importance given to a structure is dependent upon the number of occupants that can congregate in one area, not the age of the occupants.  It must also be dependent upon the use (essential facilities) and other items such as the life of the structure (temporary vs. permanent) and items inside the structure (stored goods, equipment, etc.). 

Basically, I think I am pretty much in agreement with the current model codes.  The original email on this subject seems to be placing an inordinate amount of importance on the age of the occupants of the structure.

I was recently at a function in an assembly hall in a building that is definitely not a school.  It was an event geared towards small children and a large percentage of the people in attendance were children.  I believe the people in attendance should be protected in a manner similar to or even equal to the protection we give to the occupants of a school.  I was thinking about safety of the occupants as I stood in line trying to exit the building and wondering how much faster we could leave if there was a fire, or earthquake or some other major problem which required a quick exit. 

Again, my only point was that life is precious, no matter what the age.



-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 4:14 AM
To: Seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Philosophy of School Design - Was: Long Beach CA


Bruce,

I think the answer is Yes! A child's life is of more value than older
people. 

The short explanation is that no parent wants to outlive their children.
It is unnatural and the grief is exponentially greater than that of a
child losing a parent. For this reason, we place a value on our child
exceeding our own.

>From a philosophical point of view, our child represent purity and
idealism - the things in life that we begin to take for granted or that
reduce over time - giving way to realism. We always hope  that our
children will have better, richer lives than our own. In the eyes of a
child, there are no limitations in life. Nothing is beyond the dreams of
a child. 

Last week my granddaughter (who lives with us) had to deal with her best
friend who lost her friend to AIDS. This was the experience with death
that both girls had to contend with. The friend directly of someone she
loved, my granddaughter in the recognition of the grief her friend
experienced. Life was unfair. Unfortunately, my granddaughter realized
the hardships of life earlier from an abusive father (the reason for her
living with us) and the frustration of her mothers indecision to protect
her children first. While my granddaughter may have been somewhat
hardened by life's unfairness, she never dealt with the final unfairness
- death.

Philosophically, I could only comfort my granddaughter and her friend by
confirmation that, although life IS unfair, we have an opportunity to
leave our mark for future generations. We are born into this world with
nothing in hand and we leave the same way. The difference is that what
we do between those two events, regardless of the adversity, is what
adds value to our existence, but this is not value that we necessarily
benefit from. Rather, it is value that we can leave our children to pass
on - our immortality so to speak.

For this reason in my mind, there is no question that a child's life is
more valuable than those who are older. For all the above reasons, there
is an opportunity, a potential that is abounding in that child's mind. 

Sorry, but this did turn out to be a philosophical discussion. While I
answered this without reading the subsequent posts, I believe that if I
am repeating the thoughts of others, it bears repeating - Parents should
never outlive their children because this becomes our greatest tragedy.
Adults are most appalled by the death of a child. Why? Because of the
loss of innocence and the potential that there is a chance of idealism
attaining "the" goal.

Dennis S. Wish, PE  

Subject: RE: Philosophy of School Design - Was: Long Beach CA -- March
10, 1933
From: "Bruce Holcomb" <bholcomb(--nospam--at)brpae.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
I agree with you Eric... I get so tired of hearing "do it for the =
children". Are people over 21 less important than under 21? Or is the =
cutoff at 18... or 25? Now, I do understand that we need to be =
protective of people who can't protect themselves (including children) =
but that has little to do with the safety factors used for design of a =
school or office building.



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