Teaching securely

November 2011 Access Control & Identity Management, Education (Industry)

More security but a friendly atmosphere at St Peters.

St Peter’s Cambridge is one of the leading independent, co-educational secondary schools in New Zealand situated on 100 acres of park-like grounds 15 minutes’ drive from Hamilton City.

St Peter’s School was established in 1936 by Arthur Francis Broadhurst. English-born Broadhurst had a desire to run a successful preparatory school, and chose Cambridge for the benefits of both its rural setting and its close proximity to the growing centre of Hamilton. Since then the school has flourished and is now one of the largest boarding schools in New Zealand.

The school has eight boarding houses, which can house up to 450 students. With 450 boarders currently on site, around-the-clock security is a high priority. There are 66 buildings and all the academic blocks are secured with the Gallagher security system.

Initially, staff and student security was a key driver for the installation of the Gallagher system (formerly Cardax FT) at St Peter’s. “We needed a system which would provide a safe and secure environment for everyone on-site and one which would enable us to amalgamate data sources and centralise information management as the school grows. The high level of security provided by the Gallagher system is definitely a draw card for international students. With a Gallagher system installed we have a unique competitive advantage over other education providers,” says Marc Scott, St Peter’s business manager.

However, after five years of using the Gallagher security system St Peter’s has seen a remarkable return on investment (ROI). Through monitoring time in attendance reports of support staff, St Peter’s has found reductions in their working hours. The biggest savings have been made through integrating the Gallagher system with building management.

Saving on costs by controlling access, heating and lighting through the Gallagher platform, complete payback on the Gallagher system is currently proving to be between 18 to 24 months.

St Peter’s uses of the Gallagher system are simple yet highly effective. When classrooms are armed, the lighting and air conditioning (a/c) are automatically turned off but through timetabling, the a/c comes on 15 minutes ahead of a scheduled class. However, if any doors are propped open the a/c goes off automatically, saving on unnecessary heating. If anyone arrives early and PIR detects movement for over two minutes, the a/c is activated. When the last person exits the building, the lighting is automatically turned off.

“In an office people do not think to turn off the lights when they leave. They rely on somebody else to do it. That somebody else is Gallagher,” says Gareth Pryce, St Peter’s ICT manager.

The Gallagher system integrated intruder alarms and access control system has been unobtrusively integrated into the school environment and infrastructure. The wide open spaces of the school grounds and easy flow of foot-traffic belie the underlying control over access that the Gallagher system provides. “Gallagher system is able to be run in the background, providing a friendly atmosphere that staff and students feel very safe within,” adds Pryce.

In addition to its academic blocks, St Peter’s Cambridge boasts multiple state-of-the-art facilities for various uses. Several of the school’s facilities are let out to a range of community groups including the local Rotary Club and sports organisations such as Basketball New Zealand. Conferences and weddings are also held on site.

Scott says the Gallagher system regulates various access points and facilities ranging from our main entrance gates to individual bays in the gymnasium which are independently monitored. “The reporting functionality of the Gallagher system has proven invaluable in tracking down vandals. It provided us with an audit-trail of events when our squash courts were damaged. We were able to identify who accessed them at that time. St Peter’s security is monitored by an external security company however, with a Gallagher system installed, we value the flexibility and convenience of being able to control and monitor security on-site. For example, students requiring access to our art block after school hours now have controlled access to the facilities during the evenings.”

He says the Gallagher system was chosen primarily for its open architecture as they seek to rationalise various systems in use on-site. He is enthusiastic about the potential of the system to integrate with their student management system which stores students’ academic, extra-curricular, pastoral care, medical, family and financial data.

“We use Mifare smartcards for cashless vending, as photocopy cards, bus passes, for lending books in our library, and for issuing resources,” Scott says. In future the system is envisaged to be expanded to monitor the entire site.

Pryce mentions that St Peter’s will be installing Morpho fingerprint readers at the boarding houses in the near future. “It will work well for the boarding houses because the boarders get changed and easily forget their cards. Staff were initially against the idea of having their prints stored on a database but they have been convinced since seeing the safety and security the Gallagher system has provided.”

To ensure its Gallagher system software remains up-to-date, St Peter’s has invested in a Software Maintenance Agreement. The agreement entitles them to ongoing upgrades which will enhance system performance and functionality as the system develops.

For more information contact Gallagher, +27 (0)11 974 4740, Lyn.dupreez@gallagher.co, www.gallagher.co


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