For those who design and develop schools, either as new builds or refurbishments, security is high on the list of essential requirements.
Pupils and staff must be safe in their place of study or work and security is therefore now a fundamental design element in educational establishments.
Schools present a unique set of challenges for security: every school must have an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) which can be rapidly and efficiently put into action.
They must be able to lock down or evacuate rapidly in a threat situation.
Schools incorporate a diverse range of facilities—from offices and classrooms to labs, sports and arts facilities—often spread over a large campus.
They have valuable assets, such as IT equipment to protect.
School facilities are accessed by a wide range of ever-changing users, including pupils, staff and the public.
Managing physical keys for such a broad spectrum of facilities and users can be a costly, time-consuming headache.
And, as anyone working with or in a school will testify, everything, including security, has to be done on a tightly managed budget.
An electronic access control (EAC) system can be the answer to all these challenges.
When South Australia’s Department of Education was designing its first newly constructed school in more than 20 years, they wanted to ensure it was state-of-the-art in every way, including its access control system.
Adelaide Botanic High School is the first ‘vertical high school’ in the State. Set in parklands, it has minimal grounds and no perimeter fencing, meaning that access has to be managed completely within the building itself.
The challenges were addressed with the SALTO Gallagher integration, one of the most advanced and innovative electronic security partnerships on the market.
“Integration was an essential requirement”, the strategic manager of security and emergency management for the Department for Education, George Dunleavy, said.
“We needed to be able to manage a wide range of security concerns through a common platform, while leveraging the flexibility and capabilities afforded by the SALTO access control system.
SALTO has been the department’s preferred wireless access control solution for a number of years and the fact that SALTO integrates into the Gallagher head-end system was vital for us.
“We couldn’t predict how the school would eventually use some of these spaces, because they had never been used before. But we know we will be able to adapt our EAC.”
The right EAC will enhance the safety design of the school and ensure that it can enact its ERP swiftly and efficiently.
SALTO’s electronic access control, for example, allows schools to lock classrooms from a central point, such as the administrative office, where a computer or a physical button can trigger the locking of multiple doors.
Alternatively, the lockdown can be instigated from individual classrooms, where the teacher can use a remote device to lock their room without having to reach the door.
Because an EAC uses electronic cards or fobs instead of keys, when one gets lost, or the user no longer needs access, it’s a simple matter of cancelling the card.
Schools eliminate the time and cost of re-issuing physical keys or even replacing locks.
The same card can be used for systems too, such as cashless payments or printer access, so that users aren’t juggling multiple pieces of plastic.
Users can be given very specific levels of access, so that a sports club, for example, can only access the gym on a given day/time.
Doors can be locked or unlocked remotely, saving time getting round a large campus. Multiple sites can all be managed centrally, and the right EAC can also be seamlessly linked to a CCTV or alarm system.
This gives a complete security picture and allows the school to manage the whole system from a single console.
SALTO smart access control uses a unique wireless technology, significantly cutting the cost of installation, whether in a new build or a retrofit.
It also means that projects can be staggered, with additional locks being added as budgets are released.
The SALTO range of wireless locks, hard-wired readers and controllers means that a school can use the same system throughout, from car park barriers, to classrooms, to sports halls.
Of course, every school is different, so when designing the security system, it’s essential to specify one that is flexible enough to fit the school’s requirements, rather than having to adapt school operations to fit the access control.
With great design and the right EAC, a school’s security system can be a great fit now and well into the future.
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