Locks Control Dynamic Environment
Access control features ease of use and other cost-saving advantages at community college
- By David Vaughn
- Nov 01, 2012
Mountain View College is one of several large
schools in the Dallas County Community College
District in Dallas, Texas. In two years or
less, Mountain View students can earn an associate
degree or technical diploma in areas
ranging from education, accounting and business
to aircraft dispatch, criminal justice and
Online classes are available, but for young people opting for the incollege
experience, the college’s giant building complex with three
floors and many wings offers an attractive and safe home base. Last fall,
Mountain View had the highest enrollment in its history: nearly 9,400
students, most of them from Dallas County.
Looking for a Secure Lock
Mountain View was looking for a lock that would meet its special
needs as a community college. With students and faculty members
continually on the move, no campus residence availability and only a
quarter of the students in full-time attendance, the college presented a
very dynamic environment from a control standpoint.
The facility has undergone expansions since it was built 41 years ago.
Administrators knew it would be difficult to run wire in such a
building and that conventional hardwired access controls are usually
cost-prohibitive, so they were seeking a locking system that would be
straightforward and not difficult to manage, ideally wireless and
computer-controlled, with most doors card-accessed from outside
Wanting to provide protective lockdown capabilities in the most
cost-effective way, administrators evaluated several competitive systems
and selected the state-of-the-art electronic access control system
supplied by Salto Systems Inc.
Hot Spot Accessibility
Installed last year, Salto’s system works well for the college’s needs.
Administrators especially like that the system updates lock information
from the main control system and “hot spots” of the complex.
“There are several ‘hot spot’ points on the campus, and cardholders
can stop and activate or pick up new access credentials if they are
approved,” said Allan Knott, who has been employed at Mountain
View for nearly 30 years and is the director of facility services.
“Cards that are not used for an indefinite period of time will go
inactive, but once they need to be activated again, it’s easily accomplished
at a ‘hot spot.’”
Intuitive and Easy
Salto’s is one of several systems in the large complex. Various forms of
access control had been partially installed over the years, including
hardwired doors, but they were found to be cost-prohibitive and harder
To date, about 580 locks have been installed by Mountain View’s
Irving,Texas-based security supplier Fairway Supply under the guidance
of Felix Mira. Since it began conducting business 30 years ago,
Fairway has been working with various schools in the Dallas Community
Fairway not only supplied the Mountain View locks but also installed
more than half of them, with the college staff completing the work.
A few high-value rooms such as the science and computer labs are
hardwired, but 580 doors—or about 90 percent of the complex,
including all rooms requiring hardwiring—have been retrofitted.
Most classrooms and offices have Salto-protected doors as well as all
The college staff reports that only basic carpentry skills are needed
to install the locks.
“It was an easy retrofit from start to finish,” Knott said. “Because we
were working with existing buildings, we didn’t want to get into the
ceilings. This smartcard access control system gives us all the functionality
we need. To get the lock working, we take our handheld access
control device and connect it to a port on the lock. Within 30 minutes
the lock is installed and active.”
Administrators said that cards were easy for students, but some faculty
members had problems, primarily from not updating their cards.
For security reasons, the school has a lockdown drill every semester.
An overall “lockdown button” is used to initiate the drill and also can
be used in actual response to a threat if necessary.
But no threat has occurred in the school’s 41-year history.
This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Security Today.