University Upgrades to Electronic Locks
Existing credentials are still part of the security mix
- By April Noblitt
- Dec 01, 2013
Located in Orem, Utah, Utah Valley University
(UVU) was established in 1941
as Central Utah Vocational School,
primarily to provide war production
training. Since then, the school has
undergone several name changes and expansions of
its mission, culminating in Utah Valley University
in 2008. Today, the university’s facilities consist of a
combined total of 312 acres, with 46 buildings on its
main campuses in Orem and Heber City, in addition
to property at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
UVU upgraded its access control system to electronic
locks with multi-tech readers that accommodate
its newly-implemented, one-card system while
providing flexibility for future generations of credentials.
Keyed hardware was also upgraded without
requiring the university to change its existing
Locks Moving Online
The move to online, electronic locks began a few years
ago with the need to improve security at an off-campus
art museum operated by the university. The building
was controlled by an offline keypad that required
frequent visits by campus police. Changing to an online
system was needed to allow remote monitoring
and management, but hardwiring would have been
difficult and unattractive.
“We were waiting for the Schlage AD-400 wireless
lock that was just coming out because it wasn’t
practical to hardwire the building,” said Locksmith
At the same time, a new library building had just
been completed with proximity card readers and
locks on the exterior doors. Once the building was in
operation, it was decided that some classroom doors
also needed electronic locks.
“Everything was built using hardwood doors with
six-inch stiles and solid glass doors, so we would have
had to run conduit that would have looked ugly in a
brand new building,” Taylor said. “We tried the AD
wireless locks instead, and they worked great.”
New Construction Leads
to Hardwired Locks
Shortly thereafter, planning began for access control
in the new Pope Science Building. With new construction,
hardwired locks were a logical choice. Based on
experience with wireless locks, the university selected
Schlage AD-300 devices for the applications. Both
types integrate seamlessly with the school’s Lenel On-
Guard security management system and incorporate
multi-card readers that accept the MIFARE smart
cards already in use.
Approximately 70 electronic locks were installed
on interior doors in the new building. The AD-Series
locks provide online, real-time lock control and are
designed with easily-changeable reader modules, so
they can be upgraded in the future without changing
the entire lock. They combine all the hardware components
required at the door into one integrated design
that incorporates the electrified lock, credential
reader, request-to-exit switch, door position switch,
tamper guard and more.
The devices’ multi-tech card reading capability
made it easier to transition from the existing proximity
cards to the new MIFARE smart cards as they
were phased in.
“It took us four to six weeks to change 130 readers.
People could still use their old cards during the
transition because the new locks would accept them.
Once we completed the changeover, we shut off the
old cards, so everyone had to use the new ones,” Taylor
Although electronic locks and Schlage XceedID
proximity card readers control access to the new science
building’s exterior doors, the online locks inside
provide added security and control functions. Taylor
said that they make it possible to give students access
to specific laboratories during designated hours and
capture audit trails for review, if needed. He added that
people like them because they don’t need to carry keys,
and the doors are always locked for greater security.
Locksmith Rick Chappell points out that when
replacing existing locks with the electronic models,
their footprint covers previous prep and eliminates
the need for extra work.
The flexibility of the Schlage AD-Series locks also
helps the university accommodate expansion needs.
“We’re land-locked, so every time a home comes
up for sale next to the campus, the university buys it,”
Taylor said. “We have the ROTC offices in one and our
web developers in another, but it’s not cost effective to
install a Lenel panel and pull wires through a house.”
Instead, the use of offline AD-200 locks with a
keypad can be upgraded easily for networked use in
Mechanical Lock Upgrades
In addition, mechanical key locks were upgraded as
part of the science building’s access control system.
To complement the building’s Schlage electronic
locks, UVU approved the use of Schlage ND-Series
locks, an ANSI Grade 1 cylindrical design built for
the constant use of university and other commercial
applications. However, the university wanted to keep
its existing key system.
“We didn’t want to add another key system and
have to carry more types of keys,” Taylor said.
The answer was to use the Schlage locks but substitute
cylinders that use the existing key system. The modularity
of the ND locks provided the flexibility to accommodate
the key-in-lever and SFIC cores already in use.
This let the university upgrade the lock hardware without
incurring the expense and inconvenience of adding another
key system. At the same time, Von Duprin Series
98 Exit Devices were selected for their
durable construction and compatibility
with the lock hardware.
This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Security Today.