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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, there have been two-hundred and thirty more school shootings in the United States, not including those that have happened at colleges or universities[1]. This has been a major change that American school systems have been struggling to adapt to, especially since many of the schools were built in the 1950s and 1960s. In the wake of these recurring tragedies, there are strategies that can be followed to not only provide safer schools that will protect students, but also design with empathy in mind. This thesis will examine how architecture can inspire empathy in a school, while also providing a safe learning environment. Specifically, the generator for these design strategies will be a new design for Chelmsford High School, serving grades nine through twelve. This age range is particularly important to serve and inspire, as the average age of a school shooter is sixteen. High schools that inspire empathy will make students more excited to be at school and more interested in taking care of their community and building.

The program of this new design will provide and support the education and safety of students, faculty, and staff. It will also act as a beacon where people in the surrounding community can participate in activities outside of school hours. This will foster a connection, and provide a second home for more than just employees and students who use the school on a daily basis.

[1] (Goode, 2018)


First Advisor

Sandy Litchfield

Second Advisor

Ray K Mann

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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