By Lauren Minore
To provide extra security for students, faculty and staff, Facilities began installing locks inside classroom doors on June 1, 2018 in collaboration with Public Safety.
Vice President for Facilities and University Operations, Michael Reca, worked closely with Public Safety and university administrators to develop this large-scale plan. The cost to install the locks delayed the start date of the project.
“[This project] had been on our radar for several years,” Reca said. “With the renovations in Sweigart Hall and Science, we were able to cut the cost.”
The renovations in Anne Brossman Sweigart Hall and the Science and Technology Center Building allowed Facilities to begin implementing the process in other buildings, as well.
“It made perfect sense to roll the lock change in that project and use the funds earmarked for that project to do Fine Arts and Memorial,” Reca said.
Lynch-Adler Hall already installed the door locks when it was built in 2011.
When it came time to choose which type of lock would be best for the door handles, Public Safety and Facilities decided on a door handle with a push button from inside of the classroom, which locks the door to the hallway.
“This was a request between the faculty and Public Safety to control the deadbolt of the door from the inside,” Reca said. “We felt this was the best option to meet their needs and this provides the most cost-effective and best option [for the project].”
Public Safety Coordinator Michael Yeh said his team worked very closely with Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla, Michael Reca and Facilities in the planning process of the project.
“We looked at what locks would be best as far as ease of use to secure the door lock, and also to leave the room in a quick manner,” Yeh said.
Yeh said this project is a part of Public Safety’s larger plan to exercise its emergency operations with Lawrenceville police, fire and emergency medical services agencies.
“We have a comprehensive plan which includes educating our campus community,” Yeh said. “Years ago, we developed the active shooter plan, which is presented now to all freshman orientation classes. We also present this class to staff and faculty members.”
Noting the amount of locks it would require to install in each classroom door, Yeh also reiterated that the planning process had been in effect for a while.
“The university, obviously, takes the safety of its students and community at the highest levels, so a part of our plan to make sure we are prepared as much as possible included providing these doors that are able to lock in academic buildings” he said.
According to Reca, the entire project was completed in about seven to eight weeks.
“I am pleased with the turnout, I am glad we got it done,” Reca said. “It was something we could address in a timely fashion, and I am glad we got there.”
Yeh expressed some of the benefits the locks provide for students, faculty and staff members in terms of added levels of safety on campus.
“I think it does a couple of things,” Yeh said. “Number one, it provides a secured room immediately for the occupants of that room in the buildings. It also provides some emotional support to our community, staff and students, knowing that they can secure their doors and it provides a deterrent and allows emergency responders to arrive quickly while they have a secured area.”