Texas State University Uses 200 Computer Managed Locks to Secure Campus

FORESTVILLE, Conn. - IR Security & Safety, Electronic Control Systems today announced that Texas State University-San Marcos is using 200 Schlage computer-managed (CM) locking systems to protect 16 buildings on campus. About 1,300 students, faculty and staff use the CM locks to access everything from classrooms to athletic facilities.

Schlage CM standalone locking products provide features found traditionally with online, networked systems. Whatever the credential used, a user-friendly software programs the locks, access trim, and offline hard-wired controllers, which manage strikes and magnets, from a laptop or PDA. New users, access points and access privileges can be entered into the system in seconds. They also provide an audit trail capability.

"One of the primary things we were looking for was the audit trail capability," Doug Nelson, head locksmith for Texas State reports. "That feature has helped us solve some issues. We've probably pulled six audit trails during the last school year, and three of those led to convictions or expulsions."

The university previously used mechanical pushbutton locks that only offered one code and had to be replaced nearly every year. Besides their ruggedness, Texas State also appreciates their versatility in accepting magnetic stripe card credentials, PIN codes, a hard key bypass, and iButton key fobs.

"We were looking for diversity as far as being able to utilize the magnetic stripe ID cards the students already have, PIN numbers so athletes wouldn't have to carry a card on them, and the ability to toggle, lock and unlock, and lock down and pass through," explains Nelson. "We just wanted a very flexible system, so we would not be tied down."

Nelson oversees a database of about 1,300 users on campus using IR's LockLink 7.0 client-server based program. He administers the locks for all campus police offices, custodians and maintenance personnel. Nelson has also trained 13 other departments, or clients, to program their own locks.

For example, the Art and Physics departments share a single building. They can program their own locks, but not each other's. Whenever they make a change to the database, police department and maintenance employees are updated as well, so they can still access the locks in case of emergency.

Nelson and his staff program the CM locks to open and close at certain times.

"Almost all of the new buildings have CM locks on exterior doors. They unlock in the morning. and lock themselves at night, which saves an officer from having to physically do that," Nelson emphasizes. "People are really starting to play with the locks and pushing them to the limits. They're programming them to lock people out on weekends, or locking a specific door from 10 a.m. to noon every day. The feedback I get is all positive."

The CM locks have also cut down on the amount of key changes Nelson has to perform. Two years ago, one department alone spent $3,000 just to duplicate keys for students. Right now, it has invested in about 500 key fobs, which simply rotate in and out of use.

"Right now I have work requests for 35 to 40 more CM locks," Nelson sums up. "If everybody had their way, I'd be putting them in eight hours a day, every day."