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Kingston Elementary School implements access control from Kaba

Kingston Elementary School implements access control from Kaba
Kaba PowerLever makes access control easy to use, easy to manage, and economical for Kingston Elementary School
Built in 2004, Kingston Elementary School in Berea, Kentucky incorporates all the latest advances in school building design and management. Constructed as a set of pods that branch off of a main hallway, the building creates a quiet, comfortable environment that facilitates teaching and learning.

“There are seven pods,” according to Tolene Pitts, principal of Kingston Elementary, “one for each grade level. The facilities that are common to all grades are located in the main entry area, providing equal access to resources like the media center, auditorium, cafeteria, and gym. Each pod contains four classrooms and a common area. This makes it easy for teachers to move their students among the classrooms or gather the entire grade together for large-group activities. In this era of differentiated learning, with advanced and remedial instruction at each grade level, this design is a great tool for managing the educational process.”

“Over the past few years,” says Pitts, “security has also become a major issue for educators. The pod design makes it possible to have a very secure school environment, but you need the right access control system to make it work. The old key-based systems had some major drawbacks. Keys get lost and stolen; people make duplicates; and sometimes, when a staff member leaves, you don’t get all of the keys back. The more people who have keys, the bigger the problem is. Keys are also inconvenient. Even the most responsible people can forget to take their keys with them every time they leave a secure area. In the old days, when this happened, they’d just prop the door open behind them. Then, you’d have no security at that entry point. Today, that’s just unacceptable. A keyless system solves both of these problems.”

“Keyless access control is more secure and more convenient,” says John Hunt of Belfuss and Stradley, the Kaba dealer responsible for Kingston Elementary, “but some electronic locks can be very expensive to install and maintain. A hard-wired system requires you to run wiring to every entry point, and with battery-powered locks, you have the expense of replacing batteries. Plus, a school needs a very durable lock. A few hundred active kids are going to put a lot of stress on the physical plant. It just can’t be helped. Everything in the building has to be able to withstand strenuous use. Kaba has a unique solution that solves all of these problems, the PowerLever self-powered lock.”

“Its patented self-powered design requires no wiring and no batteries,” continues Hunt. “A simple turn of the lever before you enter your PIN provides all of the power needed to run the lock functions and maintain a complete audit trail. The audit trail is an especially important security feature. People can give out their PIN just as easily as they can give away a key, but if they know that the system will record their personal ID number every time it’s used, they know that any unauthorized entry can be tracked directly to them. Now, you’ve got a level of accountability that just isn’t available in a key system.”

Junior Gilbert, structural supervisor for Fayette County Public Schools and vendor coordinator for the Kentucky School Plant Management Association, says it’s no coincidence that the PowerLever works so well in the school environment. “We worked closely with the engineers who developed this lock. I imagine it works well in a lot of applications, but I know for certain that it’s the perfect choice for our schools. We need a lock that’s dependable, has full audit capability, and gives each school as much control as possible over its own security.”

“Hard-wired locks can fail when the power goes down,” explains Gilbert. “If they fail open, you have no security until the outage is over. With batterypowered locks, you have to change the batteries on a regular basis. That doesn’t sound like much of a hardship, but if you’re responsible for thousands of locks on dozens of campuses, it’s a big job. Again, if a lock fails open, you have no security until someone changes the battery. Since the PowerLever is self-charging, we never have to worry about either of those problems.”

“By giving schools responsibility for their own access control,” Gilbert continues, “we not only save time and money here at the central office, we give schools the ability to become secure multi-use community centers. The access schedule feature of the PowerLever lets you authorize users for specific days and times. So, if the school wants to rent its gym to the YMCA or its auditorium to a local theater group, they can specify that these particular users can use these locks on these days at these times. Nobody has to come down to let them in and lock up after they leave. Plus, if some asset turns up missing, the audit report tells us exactly who was in the building from the time it was last seen until the time the loss was discovered. This is secure, flexible access control that gives our communities the power to get the most out of their school building investment.”

“With the PowerLever it’s easy to manage and maintain security at Kingston Elementary,” concludes Pitts. “All of the programming is done at the computer here in the school office. We can assign PINs and set up access schedules for each user in seconds. Then, we just download the update into an electronic device called a SmartKey. This SmartKey fits into a slot on the front of the lock and uploads all of the changes. It’s so quick and simple that the whole system can be managed by one staff person as part of her normal duties. When you consider the increased security, the convenience, the flexibility, and how easy it is to manage, the PowerLever is just ideal for today’s schools.”

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