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NCSU To Offer Class In Building Design and Preparedness

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RALEIGH — Beginning in January, a new class at North Carolina State University will help prepare students for making the world safer from terrorists and even earthquakes.

Students will learn about design and decision-making that will make critical facilities safer.

Debra Laefer, an assistant professor of civil engineering, will teach the class. Her students are likely to be among those making policy decisions to reduce a variety of hazards in public and private places.

"This really pre-dates Sept. 11. I mean, this goes back to Oklahoma City if not before," she said. "The idea is to create a class to help students understand exactly what policy is and what are the implications of making policy and how to make intelligent policy," she said.

The class is open to students from many disciplines, including civil engineering and political science. Leafer said that anyone who may work to protect public water facilities from terrorist plots can benefit.

"In many countries, watersheds are gated, closed off to the public and guarded by military personnel. In the United States, we tend to use them as recreation areas," she said.

Laefer said that she believes the World Trade Center was an example of good design and preparedness.

"The building stood after being hit by enormous impact and tens of thousands of people got out of those buildings," she said.

The class will also address emergency preparedness and response to natural disasters.


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