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SALTO & Stratagem Security Convert NY’s Plainview-Old Bethpage Central Schools to District-Wide Electronic Access Control

Thursday 30 July 2020

Located on Long Island in New York, the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District has seven campuses – one senior high school, two middle schools, and four elementary schools. They have more than 5,200 students and 875 employees.

CHALLENGE

The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District administration evaluated the mechanical locks they used across the interior of their campus buildings and decided to convert to district-wide electronic access control. Electronic locks appealed to district leadership because they wanted to incorporate the capability to initiate an immediate campus- or district-wide lockdown in the event of an emergency or threat. They also wanted to eliminate mechanical keys due to the time and cost of replacing keys and the security risks associated with lost keys. 

“We met with our staff and the consensus was that we needed to move to the ability to quickly and electronically lockdown the campus in the event of an emergency,” said Chris Donarummo, POB Schools Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Safety. Donarummo said the capability to electronically lock down a campus better facilitates their compliance with the New York SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence) legislation that calls for eight fire drills and four lockdown drills for schools a year.

Donarummo and his team considered a variety of electronic locking products, among them solutions from SALTO Systems. In conducting their research, Donarummo consulted with a nearby school district which had successfully deployed SALTO products in 2019 working with systems integrator Stratagem Security of Elmsford, New York. 

SOLUTION

POB Schools also chose to work with Stratagem Security for their access control project and deployed more than 1,500 SALTO XS4 electronic locks across seven campuses on “every door that touches a hallway,” said Donarummo. The system is managed via SALTO ProAccess SPACE software, a powerful and flexible platform that is easy to use. 

Donarummo said one of the primary reasons they chose SALTO was due to the platform’s innovative SVN data-on-card technology.

 “We were concerned about moving to electronic locks only because we were worried that the system might not function properly in a network or power outage,” said Donarummo. “With SALTO, however, because they have the SVN data-on-card system, it proved to be the best and most reliable choice.”

SALTO’s innovative SVN allows stand-alone locks to read, receive, and write information via an encrypted and secure data-on-card system that utilizes the capabilities of RFID read/write technology. With SVN, all access data is stored on and distributed by its operating smartcard (or other RFID credential). When presenting a smartcard to an offline stand-alone door, not only does this control access rights to that door but, thanks to two-way communication, the door also writes data like blacklist information or battery status back to the smartcard. The smartcard then transmits this information back to the server via online wall readers that are able to update and receive information from the cards anytime and anywhere in the building. 

Donarummo said other reasons that factored into their decision to choose SALTO included features like the privacy override button on the back of the SALTO XS4 locks and the ProAccess SPACE software.

“SALTO SPACE is very intuitive and easy to use for the variety of people from different departments that might be called upon to use it,” he said. “Plus, we don’t have to pay a licensing fee which is very important for a budget conscious school district.”

Stratagem Security Support Manager Dean Czaplicki said the SALTO solution for POB Schools is perfect because it’s easy to install, reliable, and is easy to use. The Stratagem Security team worked closely with the district on the conversion and said that even though POB school employees have a variety of access levels it was easy to program and manage in the SPACE software.

“Managing access control for a variety of employees who have different levels of access can be challenging,” said Czaplicki. “An administrator might need access to all rooms in a campus, where a teacher might just need building, classroom, and gym access. When you are talking about hundreds of employees it has the possibility of being confusing, but we have always found that the SALTO SPACE software is very easy to use when developing user groups and permissions.”

Czaplicki said he was impressed with POB Schools’ commitment to security and safety and the integrations they chose for the access control solution. The SALTO electronic lock platform integrates with the POB Schools-monitored central security system so that when a lockdown is initiated the police are immediately notified and everyone on campus is notified via strobes and a public address (PA) announcement.

“As they developed and implemented this electronic access control solution, POB Schools included a variety of community members for consultation including administrators, teachers, students, and law enforcement to ensure that anyone that uses it – or might be involved in a lockdown situation – would know exactly what happens,” said Czaplicki. “This is a district that communicates phenomenally, and they have shown that they have a strong commitment to the safety and security of their students and employees.”