1 Feb 2012

Accrington and Rossendale College has been providing award-winning education and training to the people of Hyndburn, Rossendale and the Ribble Valley in East Lancashire for over 50 years. The college underwent a £16 million refurbishment project and opened its new look Broad Oak Campus in September 2007, offering students the opportunity to study at one of the area's most state-of-the-art facilities.

The £16 million refurbishment project signifies the biggest transformation in the College's 50 year history and one of the biggest investments in Hyndburn's history. This investment was a massive commitment by the College to ensure that Hyndburn & Rossendale students have a campus fit for the 21st century.

The situation

Following the refurbishment, Accrington and Rossendale College recognised the need to replace its outdated security system which comprised various manufacturers' intruder control panels that operated independently of each other and had proven to be unreliable, with false alarms occurring on a weekly basis. Due to the financial penalties imposed for unnecessary emergency service responses to false alarms, the College did not have police response. Therefore, in the event of an alarm, security personnel were obliged to investigate it, putting both the site and security staff at risk. The solution was to install a new intruder and access control system integrated on one platform across three buildings - the Coppice Centre, the multi-million pound Hameldon Centre - home of the award-winning Construction & Technology Departments, and the Broad Oak Centre.

Accrington and Rossendale College's top priority was to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and students by securing the three building site, particularly after hours when the College is unlit and more vulnerable to intruders. The legacy system did not allow the campus to be locked down and completely secured after hours, and when daily classes finish at 6pm the campus buildings remain open for students and staff until 10pm. Although the College employs manned guarding services, the size of the campus meant that the security guards could not monitor all activity to and from the buildings. Staff and student safety was a real concern as anyone could walk into the unsecured campus buildings. As a result, the new system would require integrated access control functionality to manage after hours activity. The College also specified an enhanced level of access control using existing ID swipe cards, previously used by staff and students for ID purposes only, plus a thumb print verification to ensure only authorised personnel could access the campus. The thumb print verification solution will be implemented later this year. This combination will prevent unauthorised access, even if a swipe card was lost or stolen.