LEXINGTON, Ky. ― An unprecedented level of security will be possible for the University of Kentucky campus community following installation of the school's first high-tech, comprehensive security management system. Work is under way on the $4.8 million project, which includes, among other things, video cameras, centralized building access control, increased early warning communication capabilities and standard campus identification badges. Completion is expected by the end of 2013.
This new campus security system puts UK at the forefront of safety enhancement in higher education.
"This is a groundbreaking project. We are the only university I am aware of in the U.S. integrating the multiple platforms of access control, video cameras, emergency notification and ID cards into one comprehensive security system," said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. "This will allow us unprecedented capability for monitoring the campus for crime and protecting our students, employees and visitors in the event of emergencies, including natural disasters or large scale acts of criminal behavior."
"It takes this type of modern technology to adequately provide the level of security we want at the University of Kentucky," said Anthany Beatty, assistant vice president for public safety. "We have had full support for this project from President Capilouto and the administration."
The university is contracting with Next Level Security Systems, a developer of unified, networked security solutions. Specifically, UK will use Next Level's flagship product, a system that combines IP video management, access control, video analytics and intrusion into one appliance, allowing a more integrated computerized system.
More than 2,000 video surveillance cameras will be installed inside and outside of buildings. Locks on outside entrances to many buildings will be modified to allow for centralized access control, meaning UK Police will be able to lock down certain buildings remotely if necessary. Indoor and outdoor early warning speakers will be installed to provide immediate notifications, which add an extra layer of communication to the current UK Alert system of email, text and phone messages. And new university ID badges have been created to integrate with the new security system.
"The new campus security upgrades will immensely improve our already top-rated safety system," said Roshan Palli, Student Government president. "This latest campus improvement is another example of UK's dedication to putting students first."
An important component of this project is requiring all UK students and employees to obtain a new ID badge that includes technology incorporated into the security system. Many buildings will eventually automatically lock in the evenings, and the computer chip in the ID card will allow entry for students and employees who are authorized to enter specific buildings. This will especially affect students and faculty members who are taking and teaching evening classes.
For students, the new WildCard ID will replace the previous student WildCard ID badges and can be used for all services previously available with the old card. No personal information will be stored on the card. It will use computer chip technology in addition to the magnetic strip technology of previous cards. This first year the ID card will be issued free of charge. Current students will turn in their old ID cards when they receive the new cards. There will be a replacement fee if a card is lost or stolen.
Sept.6, 2013, is the target date for all students to have their new ID card.
University employees (not UK HealthCare employees) are required to obtain new ID badges, which will eventually replace the paper employee ID cards now issued annually. The target date for all main campus employees (not UK HealthCare employees) to have their new cards made is Oct. 4, 2013. Employees are required to provide government issued identification when obtaining a new card.
UK HealthCare employees will receive their new badges later in the fall semester.
The ID card office previously under Student Affairs is now the responsibility of UK Police, however the cards are still available in Room 107 of the UK Student Center. Cards can also be obtained in Chandler Hospital and in UK Good Samaritan Hospital.
Video cameras previously in use in different areas of the campus will be brought into this new system, and the former blue emergency phones will be replaced by new phones and cameras mounted on poles in those locations. As part of the video camera system, all cameras will be mounted in public areas and computer analytic software will be used to monitor the video and notify police when suspicious activity is detected. The video is also expected to be useful in criminal investigations.
The access control portion of the security system is expected to focus first on buildings with the highest occupancy. Those include residence halls and academic buildings.
While this campus wide project requires modifications to existing buildings, all new buildings currently under construction and planned for the future will include security standards that comply with the new campus security system.