Plainfield, Indiana: A New Era for School Security

Plainfield, Indiana high school

With the S2 Enterprise system, the new buildings provide a secure environment for the entire community.

Building for the Community 

For Plainfield, Indiana, investing in a new high school was a community decision. Residents and town officials recognized that as Plainfield continued to grow, the high school would need to accommodate an increasing number of students, faculty and staff. Residents also recognized that a new facility was an opportunity not only to provide the entire community with access to larger, improved educational and athletic spaces, but to install an access control system that would make the school a secure space in which to learn, work and play. 

“This was a community-driven decision,” recalls John Crum, assistant principal of Plainfield High School. “When the community asked for a high school, it was easy to lay this out and build the vision the community had. And that vision included investing in a security system that would protect our students, faculty, and staff.”

State-of-the-Art Design

The evaluation of access control technology for the new school was led by James A. Darnell, technology specialist for Schmidt Associates, a full-service architectural/engineering firm. Schmidt Associates not only designed the school building, but also managed the technology deployment, which included integrating an IP-based security system into the building plans. After reviewing the access control market—and with input from Mark Willingham of Simplex Grinnell—Darnell chose the Enterprise IP-based security system from S2 Security.

S2’s unique line of open architecture, scalable, IP network-ready products for the physical security industry integrate access control, alarm monitoring, video surveillance, and temperature monitoring. The S2 solution offers flexibility, scalability, and is easily installed without the need to run hard wire. Common to all S2 products is their 100% web-based user interface. Users require nothing more than a common web browser to use even the largest S2 security system.


A New Era for School Security

The new Plainfield high school campus consists of two buildings: a main campus and an alternative school. One thousand three hundred and fifty high school students and thousands of younger students, faculty, and staff from throughout the community use the facilities. The new buildings not only provide an expanded and improved space, but create a safer, more secure environment for everyone who utilizes the school.

“Integrated, IP-based systems are the new generation of access control for schools,” says Darnell. “Schools historically have given out a lot of keys— that was their access control. Most schools have no way of knowing who has keys, or who has which keys, and buildings aren’t secure.”

With the S2 system installed by Simplex Grinnell, Plainfield High School now has greater control over who can access the buildings and when. The administration has found it easy to administer the swipe card badge system, and they are impressed that card holder access can be managed remotely by the system administrator. Today, authorized administrators can add or revoke privileges instantaneously from any computer with access to the Internet—a process that is fast and simple to do.

The school is also able to grant special access to building amenities, such as the school’s elevator or gym, to students who may need to use those resources or to teachers from other areas of the school system, either on a permanent or temporary basis.

One of the greatest benefits to Plainfield High School is that the S2 system has enabled the school to program doors to be open just before the start of the school day, and then lock when classes begin. At that point, any late student or visitor can only enter the building at the discretion of front desk staff. And because the system proactively alerts administrators to open doors, school officials are confident that the doors that should be closed actually are closed.

“We highlight our new security capabilities whenever we give tours of the school,” adds Crum. “Visitors are always impressed that the system can be locked down immediately, and no one gets by the system by propping a door open. In the old buildings, we’d have to walk by to check each door. It really enhances the feeling of being safe.”


Built for Growth

Crum and other school officials know that the S2 system is built for growth, and have already identified areas for expansion. Crum reports that the Plainfield, Indiana school district will put the S2 system in all school buildings, district wide.

Schools are always looking to increase security,” said Crum. “Now we have a manageable access control program that ensures that students and staff are safe during the day, and anyone visiting the building has to be announced.

“Security for this campus was an IP-based design from the beginning,” adds Darnell. “There are many security products that haven’t made that conversion yet, and are still establishing a migration path. However, along with being designers, we have a responsibility to the public because we deal with public dollars. Why invest in technology that is rapidly disappearing? Proprietary systems and protocols are going away. Legacy systems are gone. IP is where the market is.”