For years, K-12 facilities and colleges & universities have focused their attention on access and convenience when selecting doors and entrance systems. Unfortunately, times have changed and instead the focus has shifted to security while keeping costs down. Education facility’s security have to operate on fewer dollars per student, which puts a greater emphasis on choosing the right door, the best door hardware product with long life cycles, as well as lowest maintenance.

Usually this means the school chooses to spend the available dollars on function and longevity over the design and the appearance. Some things to consider to help keep costs down, and keep students secure and safe.

Front Entrance Doors

Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP) Doors are durable, can withstand heavy traffic, abuse, or adverse environmental conditions, they never rust, corrode, crack, split, peel or rot. These doors are available through the IDN and can be custom tailored to the school buildings architecture. Another option are Hollow Metal Doors with a tempered glass window kit. Within the IDN Network, the Chicago office offers a Security Film that can be added to the glass for an FRP door or a Hollow Metal Window Lite Kit to strengthen the glass. This film makes it more difficult for the glass to be broken as a way of gaining access.

Special Lite Doors

Access to the Building

An established visitor management program should be created, and part of this should be electric strikes installed with a buzz-in access system, as well as a communication system to talk and see the visitor before granting access. Perimeter doors should remain locked during school hours from the outside, while still allowing egress in case of emergency.

For students and faculty, an electronic access control system is suggested including various options, all in-stock at IDN:

  • Card Reader & Prox Cards
  • RFID keys
  • Pushbutton Locks for Teachers & Administrators offer a different user code per person, audit trail to know who accessed the building when is another option
  • Remote global lockdown products offered by Kaba Access Systems and Alarm Lock

Prox Cards RFID Keys Global Lockdown Electric Strike

Review and Maintenance

A security system, access control locks, electric strikes, rim exit devices, etc. are only good if the latch engages. If the locking device has been abused, or worn out, it won’t function which allows access into the building by an intruder. Check the door alignment, frame alignment, hinges, door closer, rim or vertical exit device, lever or knob lock, pushbutton lock, electric strike…. do they function?

Key Control

If the school has removed all traditional metal keys from the locks and only distribute Prox Cards or RFID Keys, lost or stolen keys/cards should be disabled immediately.


Contact your local IDN Branch to inquire about any products discussed here, and additional security products offered and in-stock. A local IDN Security Professional can help assess with a walk through and provide a quote on the products discussed.

© Copyright IDN, Inc.

Kathleen Kempf is the Marketing Manager at IDN-H. Hoffman.