For Piedmont USD, Old-School Locks Just Wouldn’t Do

This California district standardized its door hardware and keys thanks to alocal bond measure and state modernization funds.

In the grand scheme of things, the Great Depression of the 1930s wasn’t very long ago, but when it comes to ADA compliance and access control, buildings erected 75 years ago seem ancient. Architectural details from that era can pose safety problems in modern-day campus environments.

“For example, at that time, entering a building through double doors was a great idea,” says Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady. “If you think about that in today’s world, you can just tie a rope around those two handles and you’ve created a hazard. The obvious solution is to remove one of the handles.”

This was just one of the dilemmas facing PUSD officials in 2006 when a bond issue passed to provide funding for seismic upgrades and modernization.

Classrooms Only Locked From the Outside
The configuration of classroom door locks was a significant concern for teachers and district officials, according to Brady. “In a lockdown situation, teachers would have to exit their classrooms in order to lock their doors,” he says. “We wanted to change so teachers could lock their doors from the inside.”

Push bars had to be replaced too. Previously, the old hardware could be chained together, trapping individuals inside the building.

Lack of standardized locks and hardware was another issue. “We’ve had modernization done in the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s, and every time there was a different key and lock system,” Brady claims. Additionally, he says keys were being duplicated and handed down almost from generation to generation.


District Relies on Vendor for Product Support
Schlage and Ingersoll Rand products were selected by PUSD’s Maintenance Technician Son Nguyen to address these issues, in part because of their good customer service track record. “We’re a small district, and we rely on our vendors to provide us with the support we need,” says Brady. “Schlage provides us with the best support. We call, and a representative is here the next day.”

To fix the classroom lock issues at Piedmont Middle School, approximately 50 Schlage locks that have a classroom security function were installed. These locks allow an individual to immediately lock a door from the inside with a key, eliminating exposure outside the classroom during a hostile intruder situation. The ability to key lock from inside the classroom allows the teacher to control access and egress in an emergency and prevents the compromise that could occur with an inside push-button or thumb-turn latch.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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