North Bend Central School District (NBCPS) serves a 1200-person community in the southwest corner of Dodge County, Nebraska. Its facilities include a PK-6 elementary school and a central junior-senior high school campus, which accommodates approximately 560 students. While North Bend is a close-knit community and usually devoid of serious risk, NBCPS always stays vigilant in assuring its students and faculty are safe.
The school district had been using a very small analog DVR camera system to track minor incidents of vandalism in its high school building, and doors to both buildings were secured by keys. The manual process of locking and unlocking doors and tracking keys was tedious and cumbersome.
Upon receiving a large dollar federal bond, the school district planned a major infrastructure improvement which included a complete security upgrade. NBCPS turned to Prime Communications, a certified security solutions provider, who proposed Genetec Security Center, for a unified approach to security with video surveillance and access control.
Security Center Adapts to School Schedule and Budget
Today, NBCPS is using Security Center to manage a total of 36 network cameras from Axis Communications and 15 HID Global door readers and controllers across both buildings. According to Jim Cody, Technology Coordinator at NBCPS, “Upon completion of the construction project, we wanted to double our visibility and start adding internal doors. That way, rather than having staff members keep an eye on things between classes, kids know that the cameras are watching.” Automating lockdown schedules for the schools has been priceless for NBCPS. Synergis, the access control system of Security Center, has been pre-configured to automatically lock and unlock the main entrances and exits of both school buildings according to school schedules. Since the community also uses certain facilities after-hours, the NBCPS facility managers can easily make schedule adjustments within Synergis to accommodate different events or special exceptions. They can also quickly activate or de-activate cards as required. “It’s all automatic, we don’t need to have someone come in and manually lock or unlock doors anymore,” explained Cody. “We schedule everything in the system or we assign community members visitor badges with specific privileges and access rights. Synergis has been really easy to use.” From an IT perspective, Security Center has also been extremely adaptable by running within a virtualized environment and thus allowing NBCPS to minimize hardware. Omnicast, the video surveillance system of Security Center is also set to record on motion; Cody explains why this has been hugely invaluable to NBCPS: “We’re a small district and we don’t have the money to spend on terabytes and terabytes of data storage or servers for our security system. Having motion detection supported within Omnicast has saved us a lot of time searching for video and minimized storage costs.”
Initiating Quick Investigations and One-Card Applications
NBCPS is using Security Center mainly for after-the-fact investigations, yet rotating video feeds are consistently displayed on monitors in administration offices. Being able to quickly locate, time-stamp and export video as evidence has proven extremely useful to identify a suspect who had damaged school property during a school event and also provided video evidence to parties with different recounts of a traffic accident that was caught on camera. “Our staff is not the most technical, but the software has been so easy to use,” said Cody. “We have solved several problems that we could not have solved years ago when we didn’t have this system in place.” With immense confidence in its new system, NBCPS has also begun testing a pilot project to integrate the photocopy machines within Synergis. Since each copier has access control readers built-in, the district is looking to leverage Synergis to manage the number of photocopies each staff can make based on their allotment.
Maximizing Resources with More Powerful Features
While Security Center features such as remote monitoring have saved staff considerable time in handling video investigations from home, more powerful features like Security Center Mobile, Health Monitoring and Active Directory Integration are top of the to-add list in the future. “Security Center is an easily scalable platform, and our school board understands the value of continually investing in this security system,” concluded Cody. “Knowing our school is secure and important events are being recorded has not only allowed us to increase district safety, but we have also maximized our staff resources.”
Infrastructure at a Glance
NBCPS chose all network cameras from Axis Communications, including AXIS M3203 Fixed Dome Network Cameras for indoor use and AXIS P1353-E Fixed Network Cameras for outdoor locations. HID Global standard iCLASS® readers and HID Global EDGE EVO® controllers were used in combination with all exterior door locations. All video and access control data are transmitted over a dedicated and private V-LAN network to a centralized server in the high school. Two terabytes are allocated for storage, where only 500 gigabytes is actually utilized, offering two weeks of video recording retention.