SALTO gives Adelaide Botanic High School the flexibility to meet current and future needs
Monday 11 January 2021
When South Australia’s Department for Education built their first entirely new school in over 20 years, they wanted to make sure that it was a state-of-the-art building in every way - including its access control system.
Adelaide Botanic High School is the first ‘vertical high school’ in the state, consisting of two high rises - one a converted 5-storey University of South Australia building and the other a 6-storey new construction. The two edifices are linked with bridges on the higher floors and joined together via a central atrium. Set in parklands, it has minimal grounds and no perimeter fencing, meaning that access has to be managed completely within the building itself.
"We couldn’t predict how the school would eventually use some of these spaces, because they had never been used before. But we know we will be able to adapt our EAC.”
George Dunleavy - Strategic Manager of Security and Emergency Management for the Department for Education, explains the challenges, and how they were addressed with the SALTO Gallagher integration, one of the most advanced and innovative electronic security partnerships on the market.
“As a new school, starting with just year 8 and 9 students, we were looking at considerable growth over the coming years, as we increase to our predicted full complement of 1250 students. That potentially also means changes in the way the school operates. So first and foremost, we had to make sure that our access control system didn’t limit us in any way for future expansion.
One of our first decisions was for a completely keyless solution”, he goes on, “as we knew that keys would certainly limit any future expansion plans.”
Security is, of course, a major concern for schools - and Adelaide Botanic High School wanted to be able to secure individual classrooms, with ‘privacy doors’ that could be locked from the inside in case of an intruder.
"For day-to-day access management, the system is priceless.”
It was important to continue the design aesthetic throughout the interior, including the door furniture. “We were looking for an access control solution that gave us the right combination of functionality and good looks”, says George.
“Integration was an essential requirement”, says George. “We needed to be able to manage a wide range of security concerns through a common platform, whilst leveraging the flexibility and capabilities afforded by the SALTO access control system. SALTO has been the department’s preferred wireless access control solution for a number of years and the fact that SALTO integrates into the Gallagher head end system was vital for us.”
The Department also wanted to avoid students having to carry multiple cards, and needed an access control system that could use their existing MiFare EV1 student cards.
The Department selected SALTO for 123 internal doors in the school, including classrooms, server rooms, staff rooms, meeting rooms, sports facilities, and performance spaces. “We selected the XS4 One wireless BLE lock”, says George, “with 115 doors having online locks and the rest using SALTO Virtual Network (SVN), with data-on-card.”
“Access can easily be tailored for each individual user”, says George. “For example we have some students in wheelchairs, and we can give them lift access. Senior students might have additional access rights, say, outside normal hours. If an external sports club hires out the gym, we can allow them to come in only on certain days and times.”
In the case of an emergency that requires lockdown, staff or students can use an electronic button on the rear of the door to lock themselves in.
The internal doors are managed via SALTO’s ProAccess SPACE software, which integrates seamlessly with the Gallagher head end system. ProAccess SPACE currently runs on a server in the school, but in 2021 will move to a cloud-based system. “Because the Department has a number of schools running on SALTO, it makes sense to have a centralised SPACE hub as a single management point.”
"We really like the flexibility of the virtual network as a backup, and that we don’t have to be completely reliant on being online all the time. If you lose connectivity you still have the data-on-card as a backup.”
Adelaide Botanic High School’s security system is a success. The whole process, from concept to implementation, provided South Australia’s Department for Education with important learnings and a solid foundation to design the next batch of public schools in the State, which are already underway. The Department is investing heavily in school construction and renovation, and the SALTO solution is their wireless electronic access system of choice.
“The SALTO system is running really smoothly and meeting all its goals”, says George. He sums up the key benefits of selecting SALTO as:
- Ease of operation - no keys to replace, and the ability to manage different access profiles
- Future proofing - flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of the school as it grows
- Integration with primary security - seamless integration with the Gallagher security system
- Access management - by groups of people with the same requirements, or down to individuals
- Bluetooth credentials - the option for staff to use their mobile phone as their security credential
- Tracking and accountability - no sharing of credentials, and full visibility of who has accessed (or tried to access) which doors
- Wireless BLE locks - for rapid installation and ease of retro-fitting if needed
- Virtual network - the flexibility of having a backup, and not relying on being online all the time. The school uses SALTO on one external access door so they know that, even without power, they can always get into the building, without a key override.
"With the SALTO EAC, there’s never any doubt that someone has a card they shouldn’t have. We know that credentials aren’t going to be passed around, and can’t be copied. It makes managing the site so much easier - knowing that access won’t be possible for unauthorised people and that if they try, we can see the attempt on a report.”