sports facility

Wildcat Madness

University creates winning game plan for new sports facility

When the University of Kentucky expanded its Memorial Coliseum with the addition of the Joe Craft Center, it also created a whole new game plan for the higher security needs of the new facility.

The Craft Center provides 10,000 square feet of practice courts for the men's and women's basketball teams, as well as locker rooms, weight and training rooms, equipment rooms, office space, ticket sales and other related activities. Tied into the existing Memorial Coliseum, which is the venue for Wildcats women's basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and other teams, the Craft Center also incorporates a wealth of memorabilia and exhibits commemorating past athletic heroes and team championships.

Construction of the facility began in September 2005 and was completed in February 2007. The new facility is named after Joe Craft, a Hazard, Ky., native who pledged $6 million toward the completion of the $30 million project. Craft is president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners L.P., a diversified coal producer and marketer. Additional funds were raised through the University of Kentucky Athletic Association; no state dollars were used to construct the building.

Video cameras were installed at strategic locations throughout the building and monitored at a central location. If an incident occurs, security staff can review the digital video recordings against the access audit trails to verify who was involved or if someone was using another person's fob.

Planning for Security

The new building required a security system that would provide easy access for the public while restricting access to areas reserved for the staff, athletes and coaches.

"We required three different functions," said Russ Pear, associate athletics director. "One is for day-to-day operation, the second for when the building needs to be locked down and the third for when we have an event in the coliseum and need to control access to and from the Joe Craft Center."

The Schlage Security Management System was selected to meet these needs, managing both online and stand-alone locks from a single database. The online hard-wired locks are used primarily on exterior doors and office doors in the areas accessible to the general public.

"We weren't planning on running wires to every door, so we identified 40 doors that we needed to have controlled online by the computer," Pear said.

Doors that are hard-wired for online access control typically incorporate a Schlage proximity reader that, when activated, operates the lock's electric latch retraction. Power is provided to the locks via a Von Duprin power transfer or Ives electric hinge. Stand-alone locks also incorporate a fob reader and, in many cases, a keypad provides the option of using a PIN.

Pear said about 98 percent of the facility's doors are controlled by the fobs, because the majority are storage areas that have low security and accessibility requirements. Schlage stand-alone locks are used on nearly 80 doors in areas where real-time connections to the system were not required, such as the training and weight rooms, equipment rooms and facilities used primarily by the athletes, coaches and staff.

In both applications, the electronic credentials can be changed or deleted quickly if a fob is lost or a staff change occurs. The online devices respond instantly to the change when it is updated on the network. The computer-managed devices can be updated regularly by downloading data to a PDA from the computer that contains the network database or a laptop clone and uploading it to the appropriate locks.

Up and Running

With the electronic security system, mechanical keys are almost unnecessary. They are only used for emergency access, such as in the event of a power failure.

"We have only four keys," Pear said. "I have one, the operations coordinator has one, the campus police have one and the physical plant department keeps one in a lockbox. They aren't normally used for access."

Eliminating the regular use of mechanical keys minimizes the cost of lock and key changes. This also shortens the response time for changes dramatically.

"We receive calls asking how we like the systems," Pear said. "Every time I take visitors through, I pull out my fob and tell them it is my key to everything."

The locks on many of the office doors are set to unlock automatically at 8 a.m. and relock at 5 p.m., depending on the preference of the department head.

"We program the exterior doors the same way," Pear said. "Because we have an alarm system, we set a time frame when people can use their fobs to get in, so there's no chance of them setting off the alarm."

Because the Memorial Coliseum is used by the women's basketball team, as well as for volleyball and gymnastics, the doors between it and the Joe Craft Center are locked and controlled by proximity readers during events to protect the athletes' privacy in the locker and training areas. In addition, the elevators in the Craft Center require a fob for access to these areas on the building's lower level.

Doors to the training area, offices, the weight room and other facilities are controlled by Schlage stand-alone locks. Locks on the weight room have lock/unlock buttons on the inside.

"When athletes are in the training room, they unlock the door so they can immediately come over to the weight room without having to prop it open," said Jamie Applegate, operations coordinator.

Access to equipment rooms that contain valuable property and uniforms also is controlled by Schlage stand-alone locks. Applegate said she updates these locks periodically and generally tries to group several together, since data must be uploaded to each lock individually from the PDA. These locks are used mainly in areas that are off-limits to the general public, so immediate updates are not critical.

While most of the doors secured by the new system are in the Joe Craft Center, a few offices used by visiting officials in the Coliseum also are included.

"It's a lot easier than changing the locks and keys every time officials from a new team come in," Pear said. "Now we can just change the code, and we don't have to pull wires to install the standalone locks in the existing building."

Eventually, he would like to upgrade the coliseum's security into the networked electronic access control system. Schlage wireless locks are a potential solution and would be compatible with the SMS software already in place.

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