Higher education strengthens security

Higher education strengthens security

The number of students enrolled in post-secondary institutions has been steadily climbing. With more bodies to watch, secure, and protect, campuses are looking for ways to streamline their security measures. Add in the number of violent incidences on college and university campuses and it is no surprise that colleges and universities are wising up and fortifying their security systems. Utilizing basic security elements such as video surveillance and mass notification on a campus acts not only as a preventative measure, but also provides students and faculty with a sense of security so they can breathe easier.

The continued growth of global enrollment for colleges and universities has driven the need for campuses to expand not only the size of their campuses, but also their security systems. Unfortunately, the global economic slowdown has not been much help. The “2013 Annual College Construction Report” released in February 2013 by College Planning and Management (CP&M) projected that US colleges would spend US$9.8 billion on completing construction projects already underway in 2013, with another $10.1 billion to be spent on new projects. In 2012, only $9.7 billion in construction projects were completed, the first time it dropped below $10 billion since 2001. Furthermore, it was noted that the number of projects put on hold and/or delayed grew exponentially.

According to a report published by Wates Construction based on a survey conducted with 52 higher education institutions in the U.K., despite a 12.6 % decrease in UK higher education funding, as many as 60 % of respondents were carrying out a major construction project over $8.2 million in 2013 — another 19 % expect to start one within one year, and 8 % within 2 years. Additionally, 60 % of respondents were expecting to engage in 10 or fewer retrofit or refurbishment projects under $8.2 million, while approximately 30 % of respondents planned for 20 or more projects, of which half have plans for 30 or more. Furthermore, it was noted that 17 % of respondents named “refurbishment” as a main driver behind upcoming construction projects.

Despite financial setbacks, colleges and universities are not letting it get in the way of securing their facilities and protecting their students and staff. A report by IMS Research, an IHS company, estimates that school security system integration in the U.S. will rise by more than 80 % from 2012 to 2017 — the market for security systems integration in educational institutions is set to expand to $4.9 billion in 2017. Growth in school security integration shows that colleges and universities view safety and security as an important aspect of their institutions' overall value. This, combined with the growing number of construction projects in higher education, makes the higher education sector an important one for the security industry.

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