Case Study: Securing Racine Unified School District

(Excerpt below.  See full article by Aiphone on, November 01, 2009)

Racine Unified School District ran into the challenge of securing its school building while safely permitting appropriate individuals into building. The district found the solution by installing an Aiphone video intercom, the AX Series, to provide reliable communication and control access points.

The importance of school security cannot be understated. A secure school means that everyone inside can concentrate on the matter at hand, which is providing quality education. However, sometimes the school staff who often are charged with operating certain aspects of the security system feel they are being strapped with yet another duty. Usually, however, they find security makes their job easier.

The Racine Unified School District in the state of Wisconsin is an urban school district comprised of 37 buildings and covering over 21 square miles. The District operates three senior high schools, five middle schools, two middle/high school alternative schools, four ancillary buildings and the remaining buildings are elementary schools.

George Kadamian is the Supervisor of Operations for the Racine Unified School District. “One of my primary goals is asset and facility protection during unoccupied hours, including the maintenance and upgrade of all district security systems,” says Kadamian. “I work closely with our security provider, response team provider and local law enforcement agencies.”

Adding On to a Proven Solution

As with many school districts, security has been heightened since the tragic loss of lives that was witnessed at schools like Columbine and Virginia Tech. Over the last eight years, the Racine Unified School District has systematically installed Aiphone intercom units so that the buildings can be locked down while still providing access to parents and visitors.

“In addition to being an urban district there is a need, especially in the elementary schools to prevent non-custodial parents or relatives from entering the buildings and removing children,” Kadamian explains.

“An Aiphone unit was used 15 years ago in an application,” he continues. “Minimal repair and good sound quality of this sole unit resulted in me staying with Aiphone through the years, especially with the introduction of the integral camera/ communicator units several years ago.”

Presently the Aiphone AX Series Integrated Audio & Video Security system is being installed at the schools. The Aiphone AX Series Integrated Audio & Video Security System compliments the existing security in place. It integrates with video surveillance, electronic access control and transfers calls to a telephone line.

The AX Series supports up to eight master stations and 120 door stations all wired on CAT-5e cable. It is PC programmable for easy system set up. The master stations include a bright 3½ inch color TFT LCD while the system utilizes open voice communication with both push-to-talk and VOX communication over two talk channels.

Other features include call transfer, priority call-in, private communication, selective contacts for door release, scan monitoring, selective call and master-to-master all call.

Embedded card reader audio-video door stations are available for an all-in-one solution and are ideal for keyless entry.

Centec Security of Waukesha, Wisc., has performed all of the Aiphone installations over the years for the Racine School District.

“The nature of the building (high school vs. elementary), itinerant staff and designated visitor/parent entrance will dictate the number of units required,” states Kadamian. “Generally we try to limit access to three doors in any one building and in all applications two internal monitors/strike controls are installed in each office area.”

The Reward is Peace of Mind

There is a comfort level achieved by the school staff when they know that the students as well as they themselves are more secure. While at Racine the intercom units are used mainly to control entrance of visitors and to prevent the unwanted removal of children by non-custodial/placement parents, school officials are aware that they can depend on the system to do much more if need be.

For example, the video output feature allows composite video to be recorded or seen on a larger screen. With the Paging feature you can broadcast important announcements and the Telephone Transfer feature allows you to contact roaming guards. Master stations have the ability to use “all call” and group “call features” between other master stations.

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