Under Lock and Key
British International Schools implement access control for a new 350-lock, 275,000 square-foot campus
- By Lindsay Page
- September 01, 2017
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS ARE KNOWN FOR
OFFERING HIGHLY PERSONALIZED INSTRUCTION IN A
STATE-OF-THE-ART ENVIRONMENT WITH THE LATEST IN
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES. THEIR CAMPUSES CAN
INCLUDE MORE THAN JUST CLASSROOMS—THERE ARE
MIT-INSPIRED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, THE JULLIARD
SCHOOL-DESIGNED PERFORMING ARTS CENTERS
AND NCAA-SIZED ATHLETIC FACILITIES. AFTER 16 YEARS
IN ITS PREVIOUS LOCATION, THE BRITISH INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL OF HOUSTON RECENTLY MOVED TO A NEWLY-
CONSTRUCTED 275,000-SQUARE-FOOT FACILITY ON
A CAMPUS THAT SPANS 34 ACRES. THE SCHOOL SERVES
MORE THAN 2,000 STUDENTS AGES 3-18.
British International School campuses belong to a global family of
43 private schools run by Nord Anglia Education—a leading premium
school organization. With more than 37,000 students from preschool
through secondary education, Nord Anglia Education offers no limit
to what students can achieve with an approach that supports every
child to succeed academically, socially and personally.
The British International School is committed to delivering an unrivaled
educational experience—an assurance that also emphasizes providing
maximum security and safety for its students, employees and
visitors. When Electronic Security Solutions, Inc., of Chicago was
approached to provide access control for several British International
School campuses including the newly-built replacement campus for
The British International School of Houston, ESS President and Owner
Dale Padjen recommended SALTO Systems electronic locks.
A certified business partner of SALTO Systems, ESS provides the
very latest in electronic locking technology. From wire-free systems to
wireless real-time solutions, Padjen says ESS recommends SALTO
because doors in any type of facility can be secured without complex
and expensive wiring.
The British International School of Houston project presented ESS
with an opportunity to design a completely wireless locking solution
for a new, state-of-the-art, purpose built, 33-acre campus featuring an
impressive array of facilities and exciting learning areas.
“SALTO Systems offered the perfect portfolio of electronic locks
and products required to address the varying needs presented by a
project like The British International School of Houston,” said Padjen.
“While SALTO is perfect for an upgrade for those transitioning from
mechanical to electronic locks in an existing building, it’s an exciting
opportunity to use SALTO technology to build an entire system from
the ground up.”
ESS chose SALTO’s wireless real-time access control system in order
to secure The British International School of Houston. The system can be used as an independent system or as a complement to SALTO Virtual
Network (SVN) and hard-wired IP solutions.
“SALTO’s wireless electronic locking solution is an incredibly efficient
system that creates a completely wireless user experience that is
reliable and easily managed,” said Padjen. “It’s perfect for the education
environment with its variety of employees, students and visitors who
need the ability to easily come and go at different times.”
SALTO Wireless connects battery-powered electronic escutcheons
and cylinders by means of low power radio transceivers (2.4 GHz).
These interact with SALTO XS4 Gateways, which are connected by
Ethernet/WiFi to the central management computer. If needed,
SALTO Nodes can also be used. Nodes serve as a bridge between the
gateway and the escutcheons, where the distance to the escutcheon—
or where the number of escutcheons that must be linked to the gateway—
exceeds what is possible with a single gateway.
With a single click of a mouse, changes can be made to the SALTO
Wireless network in real time using SALTO’s ProAccess SPACE access
control management software. End users can download audit trail
information for real-time control, delete users remotely and securely,
collect battery status for maintenance and more—all from a single PC,
and in real time.
The British International School of Houston Principal Andrew Derry
said the transition from the mechanical lock and key system that they
had used for 16 years in the former building to the new electronicallycontrolled
campus was exceptionally smooth. The newly-constructed
275,000-square-foot facility includes more than 350 electronic locks.
“I would highly recommend switching from mechanical to electronic
locks,” said Derry. “SALTO’s software and electronic locks have
improved safety, helped facilitate learning, streamlined operations,
and is so easy to manage.”
Prior to using the new SALTO wireless system, Derry said parents
and volunteers had to sign in at the front office any time they visited
the campus—a lengthy process that took administrators and educators
away from important tasks.
With SALTO’s access control system in place, however, the school
runs background checks on parents and regular visitors, and, if they
are cleared, they are issued an access credential which gives them the
freedom to enter the campus without having to request assistance.
Derry said the ProAccess SPACE lockdown feature is a key addition
to the campus’ crisis management plan.
“In just a couple of seconds we can lock down the whole school
building, which, as educators, gives us security and peace of mind,”
Padjen added that many schools and universities specifically convert
to electronic access control due to the ability to quickly lock down
entrances, exits and classrooms.
“In a crisis situation, the SALTO wireless system offers an emergency
lockdown, emergency close, and emergency open,” said Padjen.
“The only people that can open those doors are those that have the
privileges to override the system—administrators, security officers or
“In education, you have a variety of end users. You have those that
manage the system, such as administrators or security officers, who
may need more training. You also have those that need very little training
like teachers and visitors,” said Padjen. “What makes SALTO’s system
preferable is that it is very easy to learn and use, no matter if you
are a frequent or an infrequent user.”
At The British International School of Houston, Derry says employees
use a variety of access credentials including photo ID cards, key
fobs and RFID wristbands which are favored by gym teachers and
maintenance workers as they are safer than an ID card on a lanyard
around the neck.
In addition to The British International School of Houston, ESS will
provide SALTO Systems electronic access control products for several
new construction projects for Nord Anglia, including The British
International School of Chicago-South Loop and additional campuses
in Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.
“ESS has had great success in optimizing locking solutions for a variety
of end users,” said Padjen. “It’s always rewarding
to be able to provide a high quality, affordable
and easy-to-use electronic lock solutions for
important customers like The British International
Schools and the children they serve.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of CSLS.