Late last year, at a small Midwestern college, an intruder entered a residence hall and assaulted a student while she was showering. This ugly incident sent shock waves through universities across the nation, prompting facility management and security departments to reassess their access control needs for common rooms.
For TFM‘s coverage of this issue, see “The Path of Most Resistance” by Brian Kraemer.
“For campus security officials, student safety is the number one priority,” says David Handy, housing division lock shop supervisor for the University of Virginia. “When we heard about this incident in the Midwest, we immediately conducted a review of the access control systems in the residence halls at UVA and asked our access control suppliers to propose solutions for additional locks on our bathroom and student lounge doors. Outside entrances were already secured by magnetic card locks – only the students who lived in those halls could get in. And, of course, the private student living quarters were also secured.”
Tom Ashbrook, Kaba representative for the Virginia territory says, “One of the unique problems in securing the common areas of residence halls is that you don’t want students to have to bring a key or ID card with them every time they go to watch TV or use the bathroom. That’s one of the reasons these areas haven’t traditionally been locked down. A PIN-based lock solves that problem right off the bat. Plus, it can give you a fully featured system that’s very easy to manage. Some models even allow you to program in holiday blocks, which can be very useful in a university setting, where some buildings are closed to everyone but staff for weeks at a time.
Handy adds that a PIN-based systems allows them to “assign unique PINs when we issue the student ID, and if we ever need to change a PIN, we make the update on our computer here in the central office, download it to a Palm® based PDA, and beam it up to the affected locks through infrared data transfer. Plus, we get vastly improved security monitoring. Each lock maintains a complete audit report, and a quick download to the PDA gives us the date and time of every access event.
“When we implemented this system, we put in 200 new locks,” explains Handy, “and the installation went without a hitch. The model we selected (Kaba’s E-Plex) is field-handed, so we didn’t have to go around and count our right- and left-hand entrances before ordering. With models for cylindrical, mortise, and all of the major exit devices, we could use the E-Plex at every entry point. The additional hardware needed to fit different door thicknesses is right there in the box, which really helps save time and frustration. The retrofit was so easy some of our doors didn’t even have to be re-drilled. Kaba’s new Lectrobolt® technology saved us from having to run wire through the doors; the power actually runs through a single bolt that’s one of the mounting throughbolts. This gives us all the sophisticated features of an electronic lock with the simple installation of a mechanical lock.”
“We also make it easy to match your existing master lock system,” says Ashbrook. “Kaba accepts more different types of cylinders than any other brand and provides multiple key override options. The Lectrobolt completely eliminates the problem of pinched wires at installation, which is a major cause of failure in competitive electronic technology. Plus, the E-Plex housing is exceptionally durable, which is a real necessity in high-use applications like university residence halls. And it’s designed with weather resistance capabilities that allow it to be used in outdoor applications without additional installation gaskets, so the moisture issues associated with a bathroom installation should be no problem.”
“The reliability has been solid,” concludes Handy. “So far, we’ve installed 250 locks with 100% success.”