Late last year, at a small Midwestern college, an intruder entered a residence hall and assaulted a student while she was showering. This ugly incident sent shock waves through universities across the nation, prompting facility management and security departments to reassess their access control needs for common rooms.
“For campus security officials, student safety is the number one priority,” says David Handy, maintenance supervisor for the University of Virginia. “When we heard about this incident in the Midwest, we immediately conducted a review of the access control systems in the residence halls here at UVA. Outside entrances were already secured by magnetic card locks – only the students who lived in those halls could get in. And, of course, the private student living quarters were also secured. The chances of similar incident happening here were minimal, but we want those chances to be as close to zero as possible, so we asked our access control suppliers to propose solutions for additional locks on our bathroom and student lounge doors.”
“When David called, we had already been briefed on this matter and had a simple, flexible, low cost solution ready for him,” according to Tom Ashbrook, Kaba representative for the Virginia territory. “One of the unique problems in securing the common areas of residence halls is that you don’t want students to have to bring a key or ID card with them every time they go to watch TV or use the bathroom. That’s one of the reasons these areas haven’t traditionally been locked down. A PIN-based lock solves that problem right off the bat. Plus, it can give you a fully featured system that’s very easy to manage. The Kaba E-Plex Series can accommodate up to 3000 unique user IDs, can be programmed from a central location, and provides a complete audit trail for up to 30,000 access events. Some models even allow you to program in holiday blocks, which can be very useful in a university setting, where some buildings are closed to everyone but staff for weeks at a time.”
“The Kaba E-Plex that Tom proposed was clearly the best of breed,” explains Handy. “We could assign unique PINs. The software is very easy to use and allows us to incorporate the new locks seamlessly. We issue PINs when we issue the student ID, and if we ever need to change a PIN, we make the update on our computer here in the central office, download it to a Palm® based PDA and beam it to the affected locks through infrared data transfer. Plus, we get vastly improved security monitoring. Each lock maintains a complete audit report, and a quick download to the PDA gives us the date and time of every access event.”
“When we implemented this system, we had to put in 200 new locks,” Handy continues, “and the installation went without a hitch. The E-Plex is field-handed, so we didn’t have to go around and count our right- and left-hand entrances before ordering. With models for cylindrical, mortise, and all of the major exit devices, we could use the E-Plex at every access point. The additional hardware needed to fit different door thicknesses is right there in the box, which really helps save time and frustration. The retrofit was so easy some of our doors didn’t even have to be re-drilled. Even better, their new LectroBolt® technology saved us from having to run wire through the doors. The power actually runs through a single bolt that’s one of the mounting throughbolts. This gives us all the sophisticated features of an electronic lock with the simple installation of a mechanical lock. It’s brilliant.”
“We also make it easy to match your existing master lock system,” says Ashbrook. “Kaba accepts more different types of cylinders than any other brand and provides multiple key override options.”
“The reliability of the locks and the support from Kaba have just been terrific,” concludes Handy. “The LectroBolt completely eliminates the problem of pinched wires at installation, which is a major cause of failure in old electronic technology. So far, we’ve installed 250 locks with 100% success. The E-Plex housing is exceptionally durable, which is a real necessity in a high-use application like a university residence hall. And it’s designed with weather resistance capabilities that allow it to be used in outdoor applications without additional installation gaskets, so the moisture issues associated with a bathroom installation should be no problem. We’re confident that this will be a lasting solution.”
“Kaba stays on top of the access control issues that our customers face, and we continually engineer new products that provide high level security for the real world. It’s a world where you have to balance control and convenience, where installation schedules are tight, and budgets have to be met,” concludes Ashbrook. “The E-Plex 5000 solution at the University of Virginia demonstrates that our commitment to innovation and engineering excellence keeps our customers ahead of the curve. You may never know where your next security concern will come from, but you can be sure that Kaba is ready to meet it.”