Von Steuben Metropolitan High School is a public 4-year magnet high school with almost 2,000 students and staff and is a part of the Chicago Public Schools district. Three entrance doors close to staff and student parking lots are secured with an electronic access control system that plays an important role in securing and tracking users. The system is administered by the chief facility engineer and other staff in the district.
Von Steuben Metropolitan High School uses access key fobs to control access to its high traffic entrance doors. The existing access system was starting to fail, one by one, until all three presented issues. The existing system required decentralized programming at each door — taking up to 20 hours each week to maintain the antiquated system. With each staff change, a new fob had to be scanned, programmed on the system software’s dedicated PC, uploaded onto a mobile device, and then manually loaded to each door access reader by physically visiting the reader and downloading the new permissions via a cable from the mobile device. To replace the system, the legacy system provider was quoting a 4-month lead time at a significant expense per door.
Von Steuben High School reached out to SimpleAccess who quickly quoted a system with 700 Series wireless locks to replace the failing entrance door access system. The affordability of the system allowed the school to also add an additional managed access door to the system. The entire SimpleAccess system was installed a couple weeks later — with all four doors being delivered at a cost less than the legacy provider’s quote for just one door.
SimpleAccess coordinated the project with the school’s facility engineer from start to finish — helping choose the right system, and the right hardware options, manage the installation, configure the system, and onboard staff to its easy-to-use cloud-based software. This end-to-end service allowed Von Steuben staff to stay focused on their day-to-day duties.
Today, the system provides the flexibility to use access fobs and cards, pin codes, and/or keys. Users and schedules are easily added or changed in the SimpleAccess software from any web-enabled PC or mobile device. The software’s central management point allows user roles and schedules to easily be added or removed to each access point via the school’s wireless network.
“I’m very impressed with the SimpleAccess system. It makes my job so much easier.”
“SimpleAccess has been great to work with, and the new system is a lot easier!”
“I completely endorse SimpleAccess! It has definitely made my job a lot easier!”
The new SimpleAccess solution is being enjoyed by its many stakeholders. The users receive the convenience of a reliable system and new staff onboard quickly with facility access. The facility engineers have saved many hours with its simple administration. Weekly reporting provides monitoring and reassurance around facility access events.
In a recent incident, the school received peace of mind from SimpleAccess’s real-time event tracking and reporting. A staff’s lost fob was quickly deactivated and with access event history it was easy to verify it had not been used. All this real-time information was at the administrator’s fingertips when the concern happened.
The experience with the new SimpleAccess system has been shared and recommended to the district’s central resources. Additional use cases are being explored that would save time and money by providing easier access to temporary onsite service personnel, shortening response time to access to the facility in an emergency versus the current backup plan of central district key vault tens of miles away, and adding additional facilities that can be easily managed remotely under one central interface.
The new SimpleAccess system has provided a new and better access solution that saves users, staff, and facility engineers time and money. The system is flexible to meet future needs and is easily expandable. Moreover, SimpleAccess has contributed to making Von Steuben High School a more secure school while making the staff more productive.