United fortifies security

HANOVERTON- United Local has updated its camera and access control systems in an effort to make the K-12 campus safer.

At the school board Wednesday, Gary Weikart of 21st Century explained the new systems, sharing how they are an improvement over the current systems and will help save the district money in the long run.

Currently the district has minimal cameras around the campus and magnetic lock doors. With the new systems, the school will have more cameras with better quality images as well as increased security with stricter access at the doors.

According to schools Superintendent Steve Viscounte, the campus will have an increased number of interior and exterior cameras with higher resolution than the current ones and will be able to zoom and pan for optimum coverage of an area. The video feed will also be accessible by cell phone and laptops and will alert authorized personnel to suspicious movement.

The current camera system proved ineffective when last year a vandal slashed the tires of several buses at the campus.

In addition to the cameras, the district has bulk up its access control system, moving from the magnetic locks to a computerized locking system that will be wired to a network that controls all the doors in the building. A few doors will remain accessible by keys, too, in case of an emergency. Each door control will have a 24-hour battery if the electricity goes out.

According to Weikart, the program is expandable and can be set up wirelessly, meaning not only can the administration include closets and appliances to the system, but also concessions stands and facilities at the stadium.

And like the security cameras, the door system can also be accessed by authorized personnel by cell phone and computer to view a mapping grid of which doors are locked or unlocked at any given time. Doors can also be pre-programmed or unlocked from home so that teams of clubs can meet before of after school without having to have a keyholder on site.

To gain entry staff and faculty members swipe a fob in front of a reader. Information for who has access is stored in each individual reader so if the network crashes, the doors can still be used. There will be 17 doors equipped to begin.

Weikart said the access control system is also used at such educational institutions as Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The system is approximately $300 less per door versus the old system and the district should realize a $5,000 savings in the initial phase alone.