Kaba provides higher security for higher education at Ramapo College

Kaba provides higher security for higher education at Ramapo College
At the foot of the Ramapo Mountains, the small town of Mahwah, New Jersey, is perfectly situated between the beauty of nature and pinnacle of culture. Surrounded by peaceful farmland, just 10 miles from New York’s Harrison State Park, and a short 30-minute drive from the heart of downtown Manhattan, this ideal setting is home to Ramapo College. Rated the best regional comprehensive college in the northern United States by U.S. News & World Report, Ramapo’s park-like 303-acre campus provides its 5600 students with a world-class education, quiet lifestyle, and easy access to one of the world’s leading cities. With all of these advantages, it’s no wonder that Ramapo College is experiencing rapid growth in its student population.

Of course, there’s more to creating a top learning community than a wonderful setting, first-rate instructors, and a rich reserve of educational resources. As with any community, safety and security are a highest priority. And in this age of tightening state budgets, public institutions have to be careful stewards of the taxpayers’ money. An innovative solution from Kaba Access Controls helps the administrators of Ramapo College deliver leading-edge security while simplifying management and reducing cost.

“We provide on-campus housing for more than 2,500 of our students,” said Ron Martucci, Associate Director of Facilities for the College, “and we’re currently building new residence halls. Mahwah is a quiet little town, but where student safety is concerned, you can’t be too careful. The Kaba solution gives our resident halls two-tiered access control with audit capability. To enter one of our residence hall bedrooms, the user has to have a valid college ID and an active personal identification number (PIN). Even if a resident loses his or her ID, their individual room is still secure. And if anybody tries to use that lost card, a quick download tells us the date and time of the attempted entry. It’s a tight security system that lets us all sleep a little easier.”

Two-tiered access systems can be time consuming to manage. Some systems require locks to be re-keyed or reprogrammed every time a current user leaves, a new one arrives, or a key or card is lost or stolen. The Kaba system simplifies the management task. “We used the Kaba Solitaire 850 Series magnetic card access locks and the student’s ID card for the outside entrance to the residence hall suites,” said Rich DeGeorge of RD Sales LLC, the consultant who developed the Ramapo solution. “I designed a system where either security personnel or residence hall directors can grant access when the students arrive on campus for check-in.” The student’s ID card is also system compatible so that it can grant access to various other facilities, such as parking lots, main entrance to a residence hall, laundry room, recreation center, and dining services.

“On the interior doors of the residence hall suites, the ones that lead to the student’s private quarters,” continues DeGeorge, “we installed Kaba’s Oracode 4400. This is a PIN-based lock, requiring the second credential in the two-tiered system. The Oracode recognizes new users and deletes old ones automatically. Plus, the Oracode is time sensitive and automatically denies authorization just as soon as the user’s room assignment expires. Once the school year is over, the facility is protected from previous residents who may try to re-enter their old rooms. It used to take a hard-wired system to deliver this level of sophistication, and those can be pretty costly. Now, with the technology in these standalone locks, you get high-level security that’s easy to manage, without spending a lot of money.”

The ANSI Grade 1 Oracode can also provide colleges and universities significant benefits during summer months when camps and short term lodging require dormitories be run more like a hotel. The unique software of the Oracode allows you to provide someone a code in advance from the housing office that will only be valid according to the dates they are scheduled. The expiring code eliminates the problems and costs of reprogramming locks.

Managing access for students is only one part of the total challenge. College staff members have to be granted entry to some areas in order to perform their duties, but kept out of others. Kaba’s Peaks patented key control system meets this challenge perfectly. “Every lock on campus has either key access or key override,” explained Martucci. “This lets us grant the staff access according to their job requirements. Of course, if keys can be duplicated, security goes right out the window. That’s why we chose Peaks. Tight legal and procedural controls ensure that no key can ever be duplicated without proper authorization from the college. I’m absolutely certain that the only keys out there are the ones I’ve assigned.”

“A key system has to prevent unauthorized duplication,” said DeGeorge, “but that’s just the first challenge. Effective management requires a system that can be implemented throughout the entire facility. Keeping track of multiple keys for multiple brands of locks is just an unnecessary burden. Kaba Peaks cylinders easily retrofit 95% of all grade 1 hardware – including conventional mortise, rim, key-in-lever and interchangeable cores. In almost every case, even if you have hundreds of doors from a variety of manufacturers, installed over many years, you can be confident that a Peaks cylinder will fit. Once you have everyone on a Peaks system, sophisticated master key capabilities give you maximum flexibility in access authorization.”

“You want a system that lets you grant access according to need. On a college campus, Resident Advisors need to get into the rooms in their building, but not anywhere else. Housekeeping needs to get into classrooms & public spaces, but you don’t want them in the suites. The security staff needs broad access, but there are some places even they can’t enter.”

“The Peaks system lets you grant staff access to only the buildings and rooms required for their jobs. When a user leaves, you take back their previously assigned keys and the integrity of the system is maintained. If a key is lost, you only re-key the doors that can be opened with that key. The interchangeable cores make it a fast and easy task. It’s secure, simple, easy to manage, and very flexible.”

Increased security, simplified management, operational flexibility, and lower cost; these are the criteria that drive decisions in today’s facilities. The innovative features of the Kaba’s Solitaire 850, Oracode 4400, and Peaks patented key control system now make it possible to achieve the dream of doing more with less. For facility managers, it’s an ideal situation.

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