The Ballston Spa School District in New York State is located 25 miles north of the state capital Albany. Incidents at schools across the country several years ago alerted Ballston Spa School administrators to the need for an increased level of security.
Upgrade from paper to database
The School Board and administration felt that paper sign-in logs were no longer sufficient to provide the information needed to understand and manage visitors to their schools. They wanted a simple and quick method to issue photo ID badges and compile data on who comes and goes from their buildings. They felt that only an automated database could address their needs.
The District conducted several demos of visitor management products, becoming familiar with common and useful features, and then issued a bid. EasyLobby was the clear choice. One of the main attributes that led the District to purchase EasyLobby was its ease of use.
“The interface is very self-explanatory, and features such as the ability to change the layout of badges are very helpful. We’re able to customise the system to our needs,” said Edwin Martin, the Coordinator of Facilities and Security. Of particular interest to the District was the ability to provide photo ID badges to visitors so that a visitor badge could be matched to the person wearing it. They also wanted to be able to keep a comprehensive historical log on dates, times, and identification of visitors.
Tracking visitors from arrival to departure
The District now signs in visitors by requesting and scanning photo IDs, usually a driver’s licence. If the visitor is known to the receptionist and has already been scanned and entered into the system before, a quick search in EasyLobby brings up the required information and one click prints them a new photo badge for that day.
"Staff members appreciate the proactive stance the District has taken to visitor control and screening"
“From a security perspective, we now can reliably track everyone who visits, from arrival to departure, and issue temporary photo ID badges that our staff now expects to see on all visitors,” said Martin. “From a facilities perspective, we’re now also able to verify the arrival and departure time of outside contractors to ensure that they are on the job as specified.”
“From the day we first went live with EasyLobby, I have been impressed with the ease of use and the speed of the system,” said Martin. “Our lobby staff can efficiently process visitors in seconds, allowing them to attend to other tasks as needed.” The implementation of sex offender database screening has reassured staff and parents that proper controls are in place to monitor all visitors.
Different badges for different visitors
Because the system is so easy to use, new staff can be trained in a very short time, giving the district more flexibility on who uses the system to log in guests. The District decided early on in the implementation process that they wanted different badges for various categories of visitors or contractors. They categorise guests into contractor, parent/guardian, presenter, and visitor.
“It is quick and easy to apply a category and this feature is useful for sorting and reviewing visitors,” said Martin. The ability to quickly generate reports recently helped the District review the number and type of visitors by location. This was used to examine and verify staffing levels to ensure adequate receptionist coverage. Dr. Joseph Dragone, Superintendent of Schools for the Ballston Spa Central School District was pleased about the results. He said, “EasyLobby has been well received by our community, especially parents who feel reassured that the district is taking security seriously. Staff members also appreciate the proactive stance the District has taken to visitor control and screening.”
When assessing the EasyLobby implementation, Martin was equally positive. He said, “Overall the implementation of EasyLobby has been beneficial to the District by providing a visitor management solution that is easy to use, processes visitors quickly, and provides administrators with the information needed to understand and manage the flow of visitors in their building.”