These days, school safety and security are a top priority. Yet for many K-12 districts, security systems and related measures are relatively non-existent or are behind the times, especially as standards emerge and evolve. How can schools achieve their vision in this critical area?
Just ask administrators at Comanche Independent School District (ISD) in Texas. Recently, they partnered with Schneider Electric for innovative technology solutions that brought their school in alignment with their safety and security goals — without raising taxes to fund critical upgrades.
Securing buildings improve safety for Comanche ISD
Recent security-focused renovations started with the addition of a vestibule to control traffic flow, monitor building access and improve efficiency. Before the buildout, people could walk straight into the gym, cafeteria or classrooms unmonitored. The administration office had limited sightlines and no method to stop entry.
Now, a change in building flow means visitors must speak to a receptionist and check-in before entering the school. As an ancillary bonus, the vestibule enhances the building envelope, keeping conditioned air in and weather out, thus improving overall efficiency.
The district also upgraded security cameras with new digital video recording that gives administrators central access to a district-wide feed. These recordings are available not only at each school, but also online so educators can access them on an as-needed basis.
Administrators also improved the monitoring of entry points and gained greater access control at all schools. The new access system uses badges for teachers and staff, and allows administrators to assign and set permissions individually at different doors and times.
And since the district owns the badge-making equipment, they can make credentials on-demand, as badges are lost or new ones are needed. Badges can also be easily deactivated. As such, the new technology is safer and less costly than the old system, which could require district-wide rekeying in the event of lost or stolen keys.
Innovative funding makes it possible
Thanks to the partnership with Schneider Electric, Comanche ISD can leverage guaranteed savings of nearly $3 million over the course of a 15-year period to pay for all the improvements. Overall, the district will cut utility costs by 18.5 percent. The district’s ability to use Schneider’s alternative funding mechanism enabled them to achieve their security needs.
What are your safety and security goals?
Here are four key areas to consider for upgrades:
- Nighttime safety: Exterior lighting makes pathways and parking lots safer at night while interior lighting can employ motion-detection technology to improve building security. As a bonus, the latest LED lighting saves energy while decreasing replacement and maintenance costs.
- Building security: Many schools need enhanced security. Physical upgrades include better access to controls and locks, as well as the addition of vestibules that control access when needed.
- Surveillance: Security cameras that see and record entry provide a networked solution to surveillance. Building automation technology also gives administrators a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire school district including power, network and maintenance outages.
- Emergency situations: Emergency egress signage and lighting improves visibility of exit areas, easing emergency exit control and crisis management. The latest voice over internet protocol (VoIP) systems allow administrators to immediately notify an entire district with the touch of a button in lockdown situations.
What else is on your district wish list?
Safety and security isn’t the only priority for K-12 school districts. Innovative funding solutions also allow administrators to create more comfortable classrooms and improve athletic facilities. See how to achieve these top three goals in this free ebook.
To learn more about how Schneider Electric can help your school achieve its vision, visit www.enable.schneider-electric.com.