Just as your home fence keeps your children safe in the backyard, a school playground fence does the same task—times a couple thousand. Fences play a key role in school design. After reading a study on school fencing by Hanover Research, we’re going to get academic on you this week.
Literature on school safety often cites the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design as territoriality, natural surveillance and access control. Fences play an important part in all three.
1. Territoriality: A fence establishes ownership of property. Random passers-by are not invited.
2. Natural surveillance: Chain-link, a popular fence type for schools, maximizes visibility in places you need to monitor activity.
3. Access control: Fences definitely help control access. We recommend some spikes on top (Okay, that wasn’t in the school study, but we’re serious about protecting kids).
Like with all fences, the best material depends on your goal. If you want to mark off an area for a tennis or basketball court, but maintain visibility from outside, chain link is ideal. However, chain link isn’t the best for security, as it’s too easy to climb. A wooden privacy fence is a better choice if you want a private perimeter. A steel picket fence allows visibility without easy footholds for climbing, and is strong enough to withstand joy riders trying to break through the fence to do donuts on the playground.
Fences around sports areas are vital to protect players, passers-by and property. Plus, a fence drastically cuts down on the time spent chasing basketballs and tennis balls. This is especially important for younger students, who are apt to follow a ball right into the street. A high fence around hardball courts minimizes broken windows and other property damage.
Each sport has different requirements. For example, fencing for baseball fields is more regulated than fencing for basketball courts, and requires a backstop behind home plate. Backstops are usually made of interconnected chain-link panels that rise 25 feet into the air. Tennis courts usually have a polyester or vinyl windscreen attached to the outside of the structure. This prevents the wind from altering a ball’s trajectory.
Special care is necessary for schools that offer joint use to the public. As the Hanover Research study advises, “Playgrounds and school facilities available for use after-hours should be delineated by internal boundaries which establish a distinct perimeter for both the school and the joint-use facilities with separate and secure access points.”
A Friend to Schools
Reading about the importance of fence always pumps us up, reinvigorating our sense of purpose: To design and build the most effective and attractive fences possible for the people of North Texas. If your school is in the market for a fence upgrade, please call us today.