K-12 school security can be challenging, especially with the uniqueness of Redlands High School. It’s an older facility that was constructed more than 100 years ago. Additionally, students must walk outside to pass from building to building, and there’s a street that cuts through campus. A crosswalk is needed to get from one end to the other. The district needed to take all of this into account when assessing their security plan.

Challenge: Securing every layer

The district’s security team took into consideration each physical layer that needed protection at Redlands High School, from the district level to the classroom—and many openings in between. Yet, there was a common area that needed addressed.

There’s a fence around the campus to protect the property perimeter. And Redlands High School is extending that fence to include the cross walk, which will help funnel guests into a single point of entry, the main office. This opening, as well as many other perimeter openings that lead into offices, gyms, auditoriums, libraries and hallways have Schlage® AD Series electronic locks that are connected to the district’s access control system. At the classroom layer, each door has mechanical hardware that can be locked from the inside.

Redlands School District has started district-wide implementation of a full-feature enterprise access control system through Vanderbilt, which is capable of operating across different schools, campuses and other locations. RedRock Security and Cabling, Inc. implemented and continues to support the solution.

“When these systems are managed district-wide, schools have the ability to lock down a door at a time, a school at a time or an entire district at a time,” said Jennifer Martin, director of system sales at Vanderbilt. “It’s all about protecting the students.”

With electronic access control on main points of entry and many assembly areas, plus secure mechanical locks on classroom doors, Redlands High School had most of the layers prepared in the event of a lockdown event. However, the school’s cafeteria, Terrier Hall, was a vulnerable space.

“Hundreds of students use Terrier Hall,” said James Fotia, director of maintenance, operations and transportation at Redlands Unified School District. “In a lockdown situation, that’s a place where we would secure the kids and keep them safe by clustering them into that area and having it locked down. But it was secured by one AD-400 lock on a pair of double doors. That was incomplete.”

Solution: An affordable perimeter security solution

To demonstrate how the school could affordably secure big banks of doors without having a reader on each opening, Allegion representatives recommended a new K-12 security solution from Von Duprin®.

The Von Duprin RU retrofit option is a cost-effective solution for openings with existing exit devices that enables remote locking, or undogging, for centralized lock down. This enables staff to initiate an immediate campus-wide lockdown from a secured location instead of putting themselves in harm’s way to manually undog exit-device doors throughout the building. Integrated request to exit (RX), latch bolt (LX) and door position switch (DPS) signals are included to provide real-time remote monitoring and confirmation of the security status of the door. 

There’s also a “dog on next exit” feature, which is a scheduled function sent to the device to allow the door to remain unlocked the first time someone depresses the push pad of the exit device to leave that space. The door is secured in the evening, and with “dog on next exit” enabled at a specific time in the morning, staff simply depresses the push pad to unlock the door. This makes unlocking the door simple for scheduled events and daily lock-up easy by reducing the need to distribute keys to staff. Additionally, the RU option connects wirelessly via Bluetooth Low Energy to Allegion’s ENGAGE™ Gateway which provides real-time, bi-directional communication to the access control software. RU is a modular battery powered kit that can be added on to existing Von Duprin 98/99 and 33A/35A Series devices.

“The Von Duprin RU option fits into special applications that haven’t been addressed in the past,” said Russell Gamble, end user consultant at Allegion. “There are several openings that will benefit from this secure lockdown solution.”

At Redlands High School, the Von Duprin solution is installed on five doors that surround the cafeteria area. There are main entry doors where students enter, plug in their lunch numbers and go through the buffet line. From there, they enter the multipurpose space where there are four additional doors, which are secured with the RU options.

There was also interest in implementing the solution at the district office. The school wanted to pilot the solution there to experience the product and it’s features, especially the lockdown capabilities. And being that the building is so unique, it has a need for enhanced security, according to Fotia.

“The district office is a converted warehouse, so it was never really meant for meetings and offices,” said Fotia. “Having the Von Duprin RU has been a wonderful fit in providing security in an unideal building.”

The main building is built in the shape of an “U” and the loading dock is in the middle. In the middle there is a courtyard area with four portable offices. The Von Duprin RU is on each portable door.

At both locations, the Von Duprin RU options are integrated into the Vanderbilt solution and part of the broader lockdown solution. 

“The greatest thing about this solution is schools now have a way to electronically add control to doors that used to be manually monitored,” said Martin. “With the Von Duprin 99 Series, doors allow for free egress, but they aren’t usually monitored by access-controlled systems. If someone has it dogged so the doors are unlocked or propped open, someone has to manually go around and lock each door.”

This solution ensures staff is alerted if a door is propped open and enables the ability to lock down the door remotely, even if it was previously mechanically unlocked.

Results: Improved lockdown, greater peace of mind

Redlands Unified School District is pleased with the addition of the Von Duprin RU to its school security plan. Integrating the solution with the Vanderbilt system along with the Schlage electronic locks on campus has improved lockdown. According to the district’s coordinator of operations and facility planning, Ken Morse, it’s also improved peace of mind because there are less errors and more control over these areas.

In the cafeteria, Terrier Hall, they’re able to secure doors that used to be manually controlled. This eliminates human error and the risk of manually locking doors in an emergency. Fotia said the school also likes the budget-savings aspect since it was able to simply upgrade the hardware it already had in place versus purchasing entirely new equipment. He’s excited to see other areas where the Von Duprin RU might be a fit.

“The security measures and the lockdown capabilities are the main reasons we wanted the Von Duprin product,” said Morse. “Putting something on a schedule is also a great bonus because of how many common-use facilities we have. We’ve found that scheduling it is relatively easy. The doors are open only when they need to be. We have everything scheduled at the district office so it’s open during our hours, which has been a huge benefit.”