NC State University
NC State has approximately 2,500 faculty and staff and 35,000 students who are members of the university’s recreational facilities. Formerly, this large number of users could come and go from 6 am to 11 pm, seven days a week, simply by presenting a valid ID. The original gymnasium facility was built in 1961, with an addition built in 1987. In 2007, the brand new Carmichael recreational center was built. Both the renovated older gym building and the new Carmichael facility are next to each other.
Jason Spivey, Associate Director of University Recreation, “We needed to be able to control access to our recreational space, but from a risk standpoint, there are heavy weights, machinery and an aquatics center in the facility.” Spivey’s supervisor, Eric Hawkes, Director of University Recreation, came to NC State from Florida Atlantic University, where he had employed security turnstiles and saw the same need at NC State’s recreational facilities. In 2012, Hawkes and Spivey set out looking for their new solution.
The two buildings presented several challenges for adequately monitoring and controlling access. When coming through the main entrances, users were supposed to stop and present their ID to the staff behind the desk (staff are also students). If too many users came in at once this could create a bottleneck and enable “non-members” to slip in during the distraction. There was also a need to allow access to non-recreational space for non-members. A form of physical crowd control was needed that worked in tandem with the checking of ID’s.
After assessing their needs and looking at alternatives, Spivey and Hawkes decided to install Boon Edam Speedlane 996DA optical turnstiles at the main entrances of both buildings for consistency (and also because all of the lockers were in one of the buildings). The automatic drop arm models were recommended by the building’s architect as they had a minimal footprint and a clean aesthetic look that matched the lobbies.
The 996DA works with the existing access control system and can work with any future biometric system NC State may install. Staff still verify incoming users IDs and then push a remote touchscreen console called BoonTouch to open a turnstile and let users into a facility. Eventually, when a biometric solution may be deployed, students and faculty can volunteer to participate without a human to check them, and they can then just go through the turnstile. This benefit is expected to increase use of biometrics to eventual full adoption over the years.
The benefits to the university and the many users of the recreational facilities are apparent to all concerned. Access to secure areas is now physically controlled. There is now a clear, visual deterrent discouraging anyone from attempting to slip into secure areas. Reception staff have a greatly reduced burden of controlling access and preventing non-members from getting in, especially during crowded periods. Finally, risk of injury to non-authorized users has been reduced significantly.
“The Boon Edam turnstiles are meeting our many security needs. The look of the entry was important for us and the fact that the turnstiles could integrate with a future biometrics system was also a key consideration,” Spivey concluded.