St. Eugene School Gets Affordable Access Control Upgrade
Munger Technical Services provided St. Eugene School with a Web-based access control system.
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School security can take on a variety of forms, but the end goal remains largely the same in ensuring the safety and security of students, teachers and staff. As an increasing number of schools deal with budget constraints, however, achieving this goal can be especially challenging. That’s why a security system’s affordability is becoming as important as its effectiveness when school administrators evaluate technology.
In this era of belt-tightening, hosted and cloud-based solutions are emerging as viable and affordable answers for the K-12 education market and similar vertical niches. These technologies are able to enhance building security while limiting the amount of physical equipment to install and configure onsite. The result is lower costs for educational facilities without sacrificing security or quality.
“For cost-conscious organizations like schools, there’s not a lot of wiggle room to allow for complicated installation procedures or cumbersome management needs,” says Robert Munger, who is founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based Munger Technical Services. Munger’s company provides telecommunications, networking and structured cabling design and installation services to Milwaukee-area businesses and education facilities. One of its recent projects at St. Eugene School, a Catholic school located in Fox Point, Wis., epitomizes the unique needs of working with a client on a strict budget. Let’s delve into the installation of a Web-based access control system Munger chose for the school and how it meets both the facility’s security needs as well as its budget requirements.
Issuing Keys Gives Way to Web-Based Access Control
St. Eugene School serves 200 students, from preschool through eighth grade. Yet the campus’ safety needs encompass a Catholic parish and a funeral home, which complicated the task of securing not only the school’s external doors but also the shared spaces with these other building areas.
St. Eugene administrators determined the school’s antiquated key system was no longer delivering the level of security they felt was needed. It also lacked the granular level of control and management they desired, given the building layout. The spaces the school shares with the funeral home and church created multiple challenges and issues. The building is sectioned off, so the school, parish and funeral home each have private facilities. However, the three groups each share interconnected doorways and other external entryways, and the key access system didn’t extend to these spaces.
“In order to have after-hours access they had to issue keys. Over a course of years they had no concept of how many keys were out there,” Munger explains. “Which keys were lost, which ones were in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them. They really had no clue as to how to control access to their building.”
During hours of operation, anyone within the church or funeral home could, theoretically, gain entry to the school. Adding to this potential security risk was the school’s methods of maintaining general knowledge of who was in the building. This entailed parents manually signing in and out when entering and leaving the school to pick up their children from after-school care – a practice the school very much sought to update.
St. Eugene needed an effective and easy-to-manage access control system that would allow school administrators to set different access zones and easily issue and cancel access fobs as needed. Affordability was paramount. School officials also wanted a way to easily monitor the overall system and receive notification of security breaches. For the solution, Munger recommended St. Eugene serve as a beta test site for Honeywell’s Web-based access control system, NetAXS-123.
“It was a perfect fit. Because it is IP-based, it fits into our other offerings. We look at technology that is modular and easy to manage,” Munger says. “Being able to remote into a product means the cost of installation and support is going to be lower.”
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