Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS), based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, was launched as a new district July 1, 2013. The district was carefully designed as a dynamic, interactive and innovative educational experience by experts in K-12 education, along with university, business and parent partners.
When Director of Facilities Steve Burgess joined YCS, the district had already gotten an estimate for a more sophisticated alternative to its original traditional lock and key access solution being used on the exterior doors at its 12 school buildings, but it been rejected because of it’s more than $100,000 price tag.
At a chance meeting at a Chamber function, the YCS superintendent was introduced to Richard Dabney of The Flying Locksmiths Ann Arbor, who talked to him about VIZpin’s Bluetooth-based access control solution. The superintendent arranged for him to meet with Steve and share a video about VIZpin, and Steve immediately ordered the district’s first reader to test, which was installed in March 2017.
YCS operates 12 school buildings with a total of approximately 1,000 teachers and staff members who require access, frequently after hours and on the weekend when schools are closed. Originally, the principal of each of the 12 schools was responsible for issuing and tracking keys for approved teachers and staff members for the entrance off the teachers’ parking lot.
Steve says, “We knew we needed a different solution for that particular access point at each building. Key control was a significant problem, with keys continually getting lost or lost track of. Because we need to ensure security for the schools, that lost key integrity was a constant nightmare.”
“VIZpin was the best solution I’d ever seen”
“VIZpin was the best solution I’d ever seen,” Steve continues, “I especially loved that it’s phone-based, and phones are much less likely to get lost than keys.”
He immediately began testing a reader in one building, and in less than a year, has had VIZpin installed at the teachers’ entrances of 11 of YCS’s 12 schools. The twelfth will soon be added, and at least one principal has requested VIZpin access control for a playground door.
Steve, who was able to take over access administration, is slowly taking back all the keys formerly issued to teachers and staff members. About 200 are currently using the VIZpin app, and Steve has 775+ smartphone credentials he can still grant. He explains, “We are slowly taking back physical keys from previous users, and anyone new to the district is only offered VIZpin access. Teachers love it and so do I.”
Previously, anyone with a key also had to be issued a unique alarm code so the district could identify who was in each building at any time. With VIZpin, Steve says, “We have more control. I can tell specifically who is at a door at any time, so I don’t need to issue a separate alarm code for each user, which allows me to give access to more teachers than when we were using keys. VIZpin allows us to give teachers more access to their classrooms”.
Secure Access: VIZpin ensures that doors are locked at all times and that only the teachers and staff members who should have access can enter.
Convenience: Steve is able to easily give the same access to all teachers and administrators with the click of a button.
Cost Savings: Because VIZpin provides safe access to any teacher or staff member who requires access afterhours or on the weekend, YCS no longer has to pay custodians to be on the premises at those times.
- Ease of Use: Teachers and staff members have readily adopted VIZpin.