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SALTO Upgrades Chaffey Joint Union High School District to Safer and More Efficient Electronic Locks

Friday 12 August 2016

Located just east of Los Angeles, the Chaffey Joint Union High School District is the fourth largest school system in the state of California. With a faculty and staff of 5,400, the district serves more than 24,000 students across 11 campuses in the communities of Ontario, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, and portions of Fontana, Upland, and Mount Baldy. The Chaffey school district includes eight comprehensive high schools, a continuation high school, a community day school, and an adult school, plus an online high school and alternative programs.

An increase in threats and incidents on school and college campuses nationwide has resulted in education leaders focusing on the continuous improvement of security. Because education facilities typically have a large number of employees, students, and visitors — often with varying schedules — it is imperative that they have a door and access control solution that is easy to manage and can provide credential updates in real time.

In 2014, Chaffey schools — seeking to upgrade their security plan with funds from an $848 million bond issue — chose to convert existing mechanical locks to electronic locks. The purpose of this upgrade was to provide:

  • A districtwide, keyless, and smart access control system for more than 3,200 doors across 11 campuses;
  • The capability for an easy systemwide lockdown in an emergency;
  • Convenient and secure access for the wide-range of campus users;
  • Easy-to-use administrative software to manage access of different buildings within a single, seamless interface; and
  • Accurate monitoring of critical tasks.

Respected system integrator IES Communications earned the project and developed the security upgrade for Chaffey schools. At the time, IES had just begun recommending SALTO Systems wireless and networked locks and determined they would be able to provide the best solution for Chaffey Schools, said IES Communications Vice President of Sales Gilbert Romo.

“Our relationship with SALTO was relatively new when we selected them to supply electronic locks and software for Chaffey Schools in 2014, but we were very impressed with their products and past successes and we knew this project would be the perfect fit,” said Romo.

IES Communications chose to convert Chaffey Schools’ existing mechanical locks into a stand-alone, battery-powered, smart access control system leveraging the SALTO Virtual Network (SVN) with MIFARE technology and a wide range of SALTO XS4 hardware, specifically electronic escutcheons, electronic cylinders, panic devices for emergency exit doors, door detectors that wirelessly indicate an open door, wall readers, and door controllers.

A global leader in the development and manufacture of world-class access control solutions, SALTO Systems revolutionized the industry with a pioneering approach that featured the first stand-alone, battery-powered electronic lock; the SVN data-on-card technology; and the first wireless access control system that combined a stand-alone locking device with online, real-time capabilities — all without using wires or mechanical keys.

  • SALTO’s advanced data-on-card technology has provided Chaffey schools with significant benefits and improved productivity, including:
  • Controlled and secure access for more than 5,400 cardholders across 11 school sites, 116 buildings, and 3,200 doors;
  • Substantial reduction in employee man hours spent physically unlocking and locking hundreds of doors each morning and afternoon;
  • Increased efficiency in the processing and chain of custody of keys and credentials through the district’s locksmith shop. The high cost of key replacement has also been drastically reduced; 
  • Streamlined and much easier system for assigning expiration dates for credentials compared to traditional key-tracking methods; 
  • Immediate updates for lost or compromised smart cards, plus significant reduced cost for replacement of credentials;
  • Easy and efficient scheduling and monitoring of access to specific areas for designated personnel (i.e., tracking of who initiates use of a facility, scheduling access at an appropriate time, monitoring how long the activity takes place, and electronically controlling the locking of doors when the activity is finished); and
  • Districtwide lockdown procedure involves rapidly securing all doors in the event of an emergency.

The lockdown feature was a critical requirement, said CJUHSD Superintendent Mat Holton.

“The lockdown and emergency open features are an important additional component for the overall security of our many campuses and the entire campus community, including faculty, staff, students, parents and our local first responders,” said Holton. “Our staff has included the new technology during drills conducted at school sites with the participation of local police, sheriff, and fire departments.”

Key in the smooth transition from mechanical to SALTO’s electronic lock solution at Chaffey schools has been the ability of end users to quickly learn the system, said Romo.

“The SALTO product is incredibly intuitive and is very easy to use which is why we do not have to take a great deal of time in training the end user,” said Romo. “Our training is usually half of one day and covers the primary topics of how to use access cards, determining battery life of the lock, and learning the software. We make ourselves available to end users for additional training, but we rarely get that request.”

After using the system for more than two years, Holton said that SALTO and IES have delivered Chaffey schools an efficient, cost-effective, flexible, and scalable solution.

“SALTO is easy to use, accurate, and allows us to more efficiently manage a range of buildings and facilities across the district,” said Holton. “The time and valuable resources we now save are substantial.”

SALTO “hands down” provided a superior access control solution that met all of the priorities for Chaffey schools and IES, said Romo. 

“The Chaffey schools project was the beginning of an incredible partnership and, as a result, IES Communications now talks about what SALTO Systems can offer with every customer,” Romo said.