C.W. Post Keeps It Simple

Managing the keys and door control systems from a plethora of manufacturers proved to be an unwieldy task for this New York campus. An upgraded lock system however, lets the facilities department simplify the school’s access management, while reducing labor and improving security.

Many campuses experience the pesky problems of nonstandardized access control hardware and key management, especially if they have been in existence for decades. Until recently, Long Island (N.Y.) University’s C.W. Post location was no exception.

With a campus that includes buildings constructed from the 1920s through the present and an assortment of door hardware spanning an equally varied array, C.W. Post facility personnel knew they had to find a simplified solution. By converting to standalone computer-managed (CM) electronic locks on hundreds of dormitory doors, the university established control over security, eliminated the need to reissue large numbers of keys, and avoided re-coring hundreds of locks each semester.

Multiple Keying Products Caused Confusion

Prior to the upgrade, campus officials reviewed the access control standards and prepared to upgrade many of the school’s properties so they would meet current and future needs. William Kirker, director, facilities services for the campus, explains, “We have a number of buildings that are reaching 40 years of age, so we took a hard look at institutional standards for refurbishment to help keep long-term energy and maintenance costs down and keep ourselves sustainable.”

Security was one of the areas reviewed. “We had multiple lock manufacturers and keying systems,” Kirker says. “There wasn’t any standardization, and it was impossible to track who had which keys.”

Providing keys for a changing student body proved to be a big challenge as well. According to Kirker, it was difficult to get dormitory door keys back from students at the end of the school year. He says, “Every August, we had to cut 1,500 to 1,800 keys just to replenish the key cabinets. Plus, there was the work of rotating the lock cores.”

New System Improves Efficiencies, Cuts Costs

An electronic locking system installed on hundreds of interior dormitory doors proved to be the answer to both problems. The university selected IR Security & Safety’s Locknetics® CM locks, a system of computer-managed standalone locks that are networked through software. This system not only simplified key control by eliminating mechanical keys and making it easy to control user access, it also ended the time-consuming task of changing cores and duplicating keys.

Kirker says the university selected the system because it allowed the flexibility of using magnetic cards or PIN codes with mechanical keys for security override when necessary. “Another thing that got our attention,” he adds, “is that [IR is] a lock company building locks and also using its own software.”

In addition to continued upgrading of other locks on campus to the electronic CM system, a new networked access control system was added to the exterior dormitory doors. The Interflex network solution replaced a DOS-based magnetic card access system that had been installed on exterior dormitory doors about 10 years ago but had never lived up to expectations.

The new Interflex system, also from IR, enables the university to combine databases and use the same software for the standalone and networked locks.

Standalone Locks Save C.W. Post $2M in Labor, Equipment Costs

Kirker points out that hard wiring the networked controllers was practical for the exterior doors since there were a limited number of them. By contrast, it was more practical to use standalones for the dormitory room doors because they were less expensive. “We installed 835 locks over a two-month time period,” he notes. “When we ran the costs for those devices, it cost about $2 million more for the networked controllers than for the standalones.”

The unified access control system eliminates the hassles of changing locks, reissuing keys and trying to establish key control. Kirker says, “At the end of the school year, we just wipe out all the codes so no one can come back and find that their old code still works.”

The university assigns random-generated PIN codes for the dormitory doors but uses magnetic cards to control access for the exterior doors. “This was a conscious decision to use a card and a PIN, so the user has double credentials,” Kirker adds.

The resulting security provides peace of mind for students and their parents alike. Additionally, C.W. Post uses the fact that it has upgraded security to attract new students.

Audit Trails Help With Investigations

The university staff also finds the system both more secure and more convenient. During a recess between semesters, campus locksmiths have the ability to lock out dorm rooms by invalidating the codes for a time period, so no one can enter. This gives a high level of security and keeps the student’s personal property safe in the room.

Another benefit is that both types of locks retain audit trails. Kirker explains, “We monitor the locks, and if there is an incident reported, we can find out who was at the door and who gained entry. Our public safety department investigates the incident, but we can pull the audit trail records based on their requests.”

The electronic locks are used in other selected areas around the campus as well. One facility in particular is the new Pratt Recreation Center, a 77,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that includes an eight-lane swimming pool; a gymnasium with three full-size courts for basketball and volleyball; and many other features. A card reader prevents unauthorized access during nonevent hours.

Sticking With 1 Product Line Simplifies Security

As part of its move to upgrade and establish standards, the university has standardized on several other IR products throughout the campus, including Von Duprin exit devices, Schlage cylindrical locks and LCN door closers. “It serves our campus community very well and cuts down on costs,” Kirker notes. “It’s easier to maintain hardware when you are familiar with one type of product, and we need fewer brands of spare parts as well.”

Beverly Vigue, AHC/CDC, is vice president of IR Education Solutions. She can be reached at (301) 294-6196.

For the unabridged version of this article, please refer to the January/February 2007 issue of Campus Safety Magazine. To subscribe, go to https://www.secure-mag.com/CSM_Subscribe/.

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