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Access control improves security management at New Zealand high school

Wednesday 05 June 2019

Many educational institutions are investigating ways in which they can upgrade their security management. Control over who goes where and when grants peace of mind to staff, parents and students alike. Hutt Valley High School (HVHS) made the decision to migrate their outdated mechanical keying system to a SALTO solution and are thrilled with the benefits.

Located 15km north of Wellington, Hutt Valley High School has been at the centre of the local community since 1926. It prides itself on a diverse cohort and embodies the school mantra of “always look after the person alongside you whether you know them or not”.

As a large school of 1,850 students, HVHS offers a broad range of experiences inside and outside the classroom. The curriculum centres on personal choice and encourages students to take responsibility for achieving their own goals. The breadth of clubs, societies and events is huge - for example, over 1,000 students participate in regular inter-school sporting teams and performing arts is very popular amongst students of all ages.

The school previously used a mechanical access control system which was complicated to manage due to many keys becoming lost. This is a concern when stolen or misplaced keys could result in a security breach, as well as it being cost and labour intensive to replace locks.

To combat this issue, HVHS appointed a certified SALTO installer, Beveridge Locksmiths Ltd, to fit nearly 100 SALTO XS4 locks throughout the campus, including into their sports centres and classrooms. By combining this with the SALTO Virtual Network (SVN) functionality, the school was able to start tracking where users were, and set up scheduled events such as doors locking at a certain time. This process of auto locking eradicated the possibility of human error, as if staff or contractor forgot to secure a door, the SALTO system would automatically lock at a time specified by the school.

HVHS was also able to move away from mechanical keys, replacing these with key cards which they could manage (granting or blocking access, for example) from any computer within the school network.

Some staff were initially concerned about how to roll out this new system amongst colleagues, but they soon discovered how simple and fast it was to programme the locking system and key cards. In no time, everyone was set up and the processes were operating smoothly.

Craig Braun, Business Manager at Hutt Valley High School, discusses the benefits of this new solution:

“SALTO’s XS4 locks have given the school huge functionality in terms of managing lost keys and programming auto closes each evening. We also use them extensively when allocating access times for sports coaches and teams who book space in our three gym complexes.”

Introducing new locking systems has enabled the school to grant access to not only internal but external users such as the sports teams mentioned above. This improves security management for the whole community and ensures the safety of whoever is using the campus at any given time.

“The school Principal, Ross Sinclair, has taken great comfort from the fact that all classroom doors are locked at the same time each day irrespective of what mode they are in at that time” says Braun. “This gives him piece of mind that teaching staff are safe if they are working after school hours.”

Programming automatic actions and many other functionalities can be applied to any of the escutcheons within the SALTO product range. Each SALTO solution can be set up to meet the specific needs of an education provider, implementing functionalities such as lockdown in the event of an emergency, quick and easy cancellation of missing cards and the ability to run reports on when a user entered the building, where they entered and who they were.

HVHS is already planning ahead and is excited to see what they can achieve by working with SALTO again in the near future.

“We were impressed with the vast functionality of both card and lock products – particularly the audit trail collection which is absolutely essential for schools to stay up-to-date with technology trends nowadays. In the future we would like to move more locks progressively to the BLUEnet range and one day migrate to a complete wireless online system.”