Security in Educational Facilities
Eight Areas to Consider
1. Secure and Unrestricted Main Entry Doors
Building entrances in schools and universities are typically high-traffic openings that must balance the need for access control and lockdown with accessibility and freedom of movement. At least one opening must comply with disability requirements. Every door must provide egress at all times. Certain opening and building conditions may require the use of automatic operators.
2. Classroom Doors
Whether it's a kindergarten classroom or a college lecture hall, classroom doors require virtually unlimited access during school hours, but may also require limited access after school hours. These doors must also be able to lock down quickly and effectively from the inside, helping to protect the staff and students within in case of an emergency.
3. Stairwell Doors
Stairwell doors are a unique combination of access, and fire and life safety. In an emergency, stairwell doors allow people quick access to the safest route of egress. But after hours or in buildings that have floors with higher security needs, stairwell doors can also serve as a critical point for access control.
4. Cross Corridor Doors
Double egress doors are among the most common openings in school buildings, linking academic areas to gyms and auditoriums, at the entrances to large lecture halls, or simply acting as a barrier from one area of a building to another. They face daily abuse and constant use, so reliable operation is just as critical as the ability to lock down after hours or in an emergency.
5. Assembly Area Doors
Whether it's an auditorium, cafeteria or assembly hall, double doors in these large public spaces must often accommodate big crowds and stand up to hard use. And while assembly areas must be accessible on a regular basis, they must also be able to close and latch quickly and reliably when the need arises.
6. Emergency Exit Doors
Emergency exits must have free egress at all times, but as exterior doors they are also critical points for maintaining building security. That means they must be equipped to prevent unauthorized entry. Emergency exits must also meet all building code, as well as fire and life safety, and ADA requirements.
7. High Security Data, Asset and Lab Doors
High security areas like laboratories, records offices and server equipment rooms typically have a limited number of users, but require a very high level of security to protect private, dangerous or expensive materials, goods or information. In the education setting, these doors also require quick, reliable lockdown, while still meeting local and state building codes for fire and life safety.
8. Residence Hall Room Doors
Residence halls are often expected to have the highest level of access control. But the students who live there are equally concerned about convenience, creating a need to minimize the credentials that are carried every day, but also may be lost or stolen. Access must be managed around the clock, and balanced with the need for fire and life safety. In addition, many dormitories are older buildings that make it impossible to run new wiring to support hard-wired electronic systems.