Galaxy Control Systems delivers valuable benefits to school security system

Galaxy Control Systems delivers valuable benefits to school security system
Located near Knoxville in Maryville, Tennessee, Maryville College is a private four-year liberal arts college. Founded in 1819, the college is one of the fifty oldest in the United States and home to approximately 1,200 students. The 350-acre campus features many historic buildings which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The safety and security of Maryville College students, faculty, staff, visitors and premises have always been a priority for school administration. Upgrades to the school’s access control system have been ongoing, both as enhancements and as new installs rather than complete overhauls. Access control system upgrades and additional location installations are also expected to be easy to implement and administer as well as to serve multiple purposes. For instance, student identity cards need to be multi-functional to include building access as well as be used for on-campus dining or bookstore purchases.

The school’s access control system was first upgraded to System Galaxy in 2003 in consultation with the IT department, physical plant and security staff. This initial implementation began with the conversion of all the school’s controlled doors, encompassing several dorms and an office building. Over time, the original mag strip readers were replaced with prox readers and the access control system expanded to include both new buildings and the renovation of older buildings on the campus.

A total of 12-13 buildings now make up the system, with certain larger buildings incorporating up to 15 readers. Six residence halls utilize a total of 10 prox readers, since several of the halls need multiple readers for lobbies, stairwells and elevators (students use physical keys for their individual dorm rooms). The network friendly system uses very little bandwidth and is easy to deploy.

The Galaxy system allows student ID prox cards to be used in the cafeteria or library as well as providing access to the student’s assigned residence hall. Permissions for the card are easily turned off when a student graduates or leaves school. Formerly, school personnel had to purge hundreds of departing students from the database each spring, and then rebuild the database with many of the same names each fall. With System Galaxy, they simply remove privileges from individual users by unchecking one box on screen, and restore privileges in the fall by checking the box again.

Access to each door on the campus is tailored to fit the needs of the students and provide optimum security. While each building has its own locking and unlocking schedule, the ID cards of students involved in activities such as rehearsals or science projects can be temporarily programmed to allow them access to a building. System Galaxy is very intuitive and changes can be made easily and quickly by authorized school staff even with limited knowledge of access control or System Galaxy.

System Galaxy can be programmed to generate alarms and/or alerts when a door is propped open, whether during the school day or after hours. This prompts administration to close the door and provides the impetus for them to investigate and monitor the situation with the video surveillance system, which can be integrated with access control. Reports can be generated to include alarm, door and card activity, who’s-in/roll-call and many more. Powerful utilities enable the administration to query data selectively and configure and save unique report filters for future use. According to Jack Piepenbring, Director of Safety and Security, Maryville College, the information provided by System Galaxy in these reports is useful for purposes of identifying individuals who may have been involved in an incident. He said, “If there is an investigation and we want to find out who came into a residence hall or academic building during a certain period, I can look and see the names of people that used their access card to enter each particular building, along with the time of day they entered.” Having gained so many benefits and advantages, Maryville College plans to add more doors to their Galaxy system as the school continues to grow.

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