St. John’s College High School (SJC), in Washington, DC, has deployed the Brivo OnSite SE access control system in key locations throughout their 27-acre campus. eVigilant of Arlington, Virginia, specified and installed the Brivo system.

St. John’s, an independent, Catholic, coeducational college preparatory school with 1,100 students and 150 faculty and staff, formerly secured their buildings with a standard lock and key system. The SJC Administration sought improved access technology to provide school administrators with maximum flexibility; utilizing existing infrastructure and giving them a “tiered” management system to fit the overall needs of the school and each specific administrator.

eVigilant introduced Tony Colvin, Director of Facilities, and Mel Colvin, Director of Technology, to Brivo’s OnSite SE, which provides all of the advanced benefits of Brivo functionality and ease of use. The system offers the school on-site data storage control, as opposed to the Web-hosting option the company also offers.

“We knew we wanted a Web-based system,” said Mel Colvin. “I didn’t want to hassle with making sure all the computers had the right software and the right versions of software. The Brivo system made it easy.”

“We opted for a phased installation so we installed Brivo in our athletic facility to see how it functioned and to gain a comfort level with the system,” said Tony Colvin. “The school wanted to be able to lock up the entire building and then funnel all traffic through specific doorways while sensors on all other doors would monitor closed or open status. We have a lot of coaching and other staff; in fact, over the course of the year we have upwards of 15 different athletic programs using the building at different times of year for different periods, all with different coaching staffs. We needed a system that could easily manage all those cards and schedules, control access, and track access in the facility. With the old system, if a student got a hold of a key that presented a potential problem—now we just cancel the missing access card.”

The Brivo OnSite SE system gives SJC greatly improved access control and access visibility and reporting, and it provides the school a host of other benefits as well. The athletic director can control doors from his office or remotely grant access to outside groups that rent the facility. At the end of each day, the athletic director needs to make sure the building is fully secure. The Brivo system gives him an easily accessible view of the entire building so that he knows if any doors are open—without leaving his office.

Once the entire St. John’s administration confirmed the system was meeting their needs, it was time to look at other buildings and access points to expand system control. In addition to the athletic building, Brivo has been installed in the main academic building on the main entrance doors, the administrative offices, and the Business Manager’s suite. At present, a fourth location is being installed to control cafeteria access. Through the process, SJC was pleased to learn that they were not limited by the Brivo system; they just needed to figure out how to maximize system functionality to their greatest benefit.

As the access control management plan unfolds, SJC intends to funnel people in and out of the building through two access points in the front and back of the building. Like the athletic facility, the goal is to know who is coming and going and when. St. John’s allows 24/7 access. With the previous lock and key system, when someone opened a door with a key, it generally stayed unlocked and then the building was vulnerable. With Brivo, SJC does not have to worry that the doors remain unlocked. The Brivo system also enables SJC to schedule an open time for the building as well as the ability to lock the building once everyone is inside after the official start of the day. Deliveries are buzzed in while the building is locked during these hours. As part of their emergency plan, St. John’s has also installed a single-button “lock-down” for the entire facility.

As budget becomes available, SJC plans to continue to expand the Brivo system, with their attention turning to controlling internal access within buildings. For example, when the theatre group rehearses, the school envisions providing one access point and a corridor to where practice is held, with all other school areas off-limits and locked. There was one other advantage that SJC liked very much—the Brivo ACS is not limited to the Windows environment and can be operated with Macs.

System scalability and the advantage of expanding the system where and when appropriate has been a real advantage for St. John’s. According to school administrators, they asked themselves this question: Is the technology going to work the way we want it to work or do we have to conform to the software or hardware? Of all the systems that were evaluated, only Brivo fit that important criterion and budget. 

For more information on the Brivo Online Access Control System and OnSite SE, contact Brivo toll–free at 1-866-692-7486, option 1 or email

About St. John’s College High School

St. John’s College High School is a co-educational Catholic secondary school located in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington, DC. The school serves approximately 1,100 students from the Washington Metropolitan area. St. John’s was founded in 1851 and is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.