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Equipping 16th-century doors with 21st-century access control

Equipping 16th-century doors with 21st-century access control
Schools and heritage sites present their own unique difficulties for security and access control. But what about a school that is also a heritage site of exceptional value?
Schools and heritage sites present their own unique difficulties for security and access control. But what about a school that is also a heritage site of exceptional value? This was the challenge facing security administrators at the Colegio Diocesano Santo Domingo in Orihuela, Spain.

The Colegio Diocesano is more than just a school. Its historic buildings date to the 1500s, a heritage site as well as a place of learning — with a museum which requires the protection of the same access system. 

Hence, the brief for a new access system required minimal disruption on two fronts. The college buildings are a Resource of Cultural Interest and on Spain’s heritage registry: they must not be damaged. School leaders also required little disturbance of everyday school learning. Wireless access control was the obvious answer. 

A wire-free solution to a 16th-century problem

SMARTair wireless access control devices now control access through 300 doors around the school. A mix of battery-powered escutcheons and weather-proof escutcheons, knob cylinders and wired wall readers (including for lifts), are connected to SMARTair’s intuitive software by a network of 38 wireless communication hubs.

The school chose SMARTair Wireless Online management for their new keyless access system. This powerful management option enables real-time security control to limit free access to and around the site, even if the school data network is down. Automated emails inform security staff of any incidents, keeping students, staff, equipment, and precious heritage safe.

“The main benefit is the ease of real-time key management — from any place and at any time — via the wireless online management system,” says IT Manager, Francisco Fernández Soriano. “This increases security for children and for staff, because no unauthorised people can enter the school.”

SMARTair locks and readers provide a streamlined way to manage access. Student and staff carry credentials programmed to allow access to specific authorized areas. SMARTair TS1000 software makes it easy to issue and cancel access credentials for temporary visitors such as parents.

“In addition to the main entrances and classrooms, access to private spaces such as lifts, offices, staff rooms, the church, the museum, the library and the IT room is constantly monitored,” he adds. “Thanks to our SMARTair devices installed at more than 300 doors, the security team can find out who has accessed which space and when, at any time.”

Installation and integration

Installation of the school’s new SMARTair system demanded minimal work. Some school doors date to the 16th century, so major alterations to door hardware were not possible. “The system was installed without a hitch and also without any disruption to classes,” confirms Fernández Soriano. Because SMARTair is a modular system, scalability is built in. They can extend or fine-tune their access system when they choose. Indeed, SMARTair’s “Phase II” is already under discussion.

SMARTair software also easily slotted into the school’s existing management workflows. The Colegio Diocesano has used iinventi education management software for the past five years. Integration with SMARTair software was simple: access control, the library and canteen are managed from an integrated system.

“SMARTair gives the school’s security team the answers they need,” concludes school director, Reverend José María Fernández-Corredor.

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