Wireless locks solved New Jersey’s Upper Township School District’s access control and lockdown issues.

School safety today requires a broad-based effort to address the many security issues that can hamper a safe learning environment. These initiatives often include technology and human-based solutions and both play an essential role in preventing and controlling security vulnerabilities throughout the school. The on-going development of access control and lockdown technology by leading manufacturers such as Sielox also plays an important role in helping schools achieve their goals as New Jersey’s Upper Township School District learned.

The Upper Township School District is a comprehensive community public school district, serving students in pre-school through eighth grade from Upper Township, in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. Located in Petersburg, New Jersey, the UTSD wanted to strengthen classroom and building security by upgrading the locks on classroom and perimeter doors.

Their options at the time included an interior classroom mechanical lockset; a wireless lockset that was not online; and an online communication wireless lockset.  The online wireless lockset was selected for UTSD because it allowed the school to be locked down immediately and remotely. The problem, however, was that the cost of deploying wireless locks for the more than 130 doors throughout the three buildings was significantly more than UTSD had budgeted.

During the course of UTSD’s search for a more affordable solution, new wireless lock technology became available and at a cost that was approximately 50 percent less. The savings allowed UTSD to move forward with the project that now had the capability for a layered approach to school security. This included installing Sielox’s Pinnacle access control system for control of interior and perimeter doors and the 1700 intelligent controller integrated with the new Schlage NDE wireless locks.

“We were looking for the best solution to handle a lockdown situation at the three schools in our district,” said Vincent Palmieri, Superintendent, Upper Township Schools. “Given the fact that we also wanted the ability to lock the perimeter and interior doors of each school, Sielox had the complete solution for our needs.”

Another element of the layered solution implemented at UTSD was Sielox’s Class (Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System) emergency notification and lockdown solution. CLASS provides real-time classroom status, updates and notifications to administrators and first responders using graphical
maps, email and text messaging to assist in making split-second decisions in the event of an incident or developing situation.

The system was designed and built by CM3 Building Solutions, a security channel partner with Sielox. Along with the capability to secure classroom doors remotely, the system designed by CM3 provided additional benefits to the school. Card readers installed on both sides of certain perimeter doors automatically records entry and exit activity via the Pinnacle access control system, eliminating the need for staff to sign in when they come in and leave the building.

Perimeter doors that didn’t require access control are supervised and monitored via the Sielox Pinnacle software and a local sounder/strobe at the physical door location. This allows for notification of a door propped or a door forced open condition and assists the district in keeping a
secure building perimeter.