Integrated security systems at schools and colleges must now include protection of solar panels and metals such as copper from theft. Pictured are solar canopies at Caroline Davis Intermediate School in San Jose, Calif., which generate electricity and provide shaded parking, too. Photo courtesy PRNewsFoto/Chevron Energy Solutions


Colorado’s Miami-Yoder School District has integrated its access control, intrusion and surveillance to secure the district’s new 91,000-square-foot facility in Rush, Colo. This integrated solution allows school officials to control entry to the building’s multiple entrances and access surveillance video footage of incidents as they unfold.

Products from Kantech, DSC and American Dynamics, part of Tyco Security Products, are the security tools for the district, which serves a 500-square-mile area in rural eastern Colorado. A new facility was constructed to replace a 100-year-old main building and a series of portable classrooms used for its 300 students in pre-K to 12th grade.

“Being able to finally control access to the entrances and exits of our facility was really one of the primary drivers of our construction,” says Rick Walter, district superintendent. “Not only does this limit access through our exterior doors, but it limits the amount of traffic roaming the hallways within our building and between the different areas of our school.”

Adds John Castle of integrator company Secure All Solutions, “This technology allows school officials to monitor incidents as they occur. The footage has already helped them resolve several incidents, like minor vandalism and thefts of items from backpacks.”

The construction project was funded by Colorado’s Building Excellent Schools Today grant program, designed to provide money to school districts to replace aging and deteriorating facilities.

In addition to the modern, integrated security system, the $18.1 million grant provided the school with state-of-art geothermal and solar powered heating and cooling systems and other technological tools for instruction.

Solar panels at schools in other U.S. school districts also have, themselves, added to risk mitigation plans. In addition to copper theft, there are increasing incidents of theft of solar panels. Therefore, some schools and colleges add video security and intrusion detection to roofs and other places where solar panels and air conditioning units are installed.