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SentryGlas® ionoplast chosen to protect Detroit Children's Museum

Laminated glass containing SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer has been installed as an intrusion-resistant barrier in a children's museum owned by Detroit Public Schools as part of a pilot program to test the material's suitability for 23 new schools in the Detroit area.

Detroit Children's Museum anti-intrusion facade lets in light, while protecting artifacts.
Michael Guthrie of Van Tine / Guthrie studio of architecture said: "The new Museum (completed: October 2001), which has been totally renovated and moved to a new location, is unique in containing more than 100,000 artifacts of significant value - from original pages of the Gutenberg Bible to Native American cultural art pieces. We clad the most of the building in corten steel with a front façade in brick to reflect the industrial origins of the area. However the front exit openings and windows are in laminated glass with SentryGlas® ionoplast, replacing an industrial steel sash that was in place before.

"We saw this as a multi-faceted solution. The glass gives a feeling of openness and light and also provides a highly effective intrusion-resistant barrier against break-ins. Our hope is that the Museum will be a catalyst for the resurgence of this area of downtown Detroit."

Schools in urban settings can use SentryGlas® for an open look, with break-in resistance and no fear-inducing metal bars.
The Museum's Director, Dwight Levens, confirmed: "It's excellent that the front façade could contain so much glass and let the light in, while at the same time making us feel very secure against the possibility of break-ins."

"Extremely tough"

Senior Deputy CEO of Detroit Public Schools (DPS), Robert F. Moore, Jr. told LGN: "Extensive testing undertaken with authorized marketer InvisaGuard Inc. of Detroit, who showed us that laminated glass containing DuPont's ionoplast interlayer is extremely tough - it would take a would-be intruder at least two minutes to break through a window or door made of the material and the amount of noise generated would almost certainly allow security guards to reach the scene in time to stop the break-in.

"The installation of SentryGlas®, in tandem with other measures such as security cameras, new alarm systems and the relocation of the museum itself, has meant that that we can insure the contents of the building for the first time. The material also passed the testing procedures of the Fire Marshall, since it provides excellent intrusion resistance without being too thick to break with fire axes."

Excellent potential for schools

Moore said that DPS is considering installing laminated glass containing the ionoplast interlayer in all new schools to be built in the Detroit area over the next five to ten years: "Schools are purchasing increasing amounts of high technology equipment such as computers and this has made them a target for smash-and-grab thieves as never before. From 1 July 2001 to 30 May 2002, there were no fewer than 700 break-ins in the 270 schools in our area alone.

"School break-ins have become a real problem in urban centres; thieves know that the schools contain high technology equipment and that it's relatively easy to steal. Until now, our main solution was to install thick wire window guards which are not only unsightly but which also foster an atmosphere of distrust and fear - schools should clearly 'feel' friendly and welcoming and get the most natural daylight inside as possible. We were impressed with the quality of SentryGlas®, which, though providing excellent barrier strength, is clear and scratchproof; we have seen during the testing and at the Children's Museum that it does not experience yellowing or fading, unlike polycarbonate.

"What we are interested in is a total 'high tech window security package' containing both the laminated glass, the frame and entire window system. If this could be offered for a reasonable price, I am quite sure that a whole lot of schools throughout the world - especially in the inner city environment - would eagerly buy into it because we are only going to see more computers and other expensive equipment in schools and it seems to me that this could be the perfect way to protect the investment, in combination with an overall strategy of roving patrols by trained staff, improved or appropriate lighting and better coordination with the local police department."

'The Secure School Environment'

President of InvisaGuard, Darnel Arnold, commented: "We have been working for two years with DuPont and DPS on a program called 'The Secure School Environment'. As well as fitting new schools with windows containing SentryGlas®, we hope to be able to retrofit windows in the rest of the Detroit district's public schools, starting with those neighborhoods where the crime problem is worst."