Posted: June 29, 2009
Sonitrol, a leading North American commercial security company, is installing highly sophisticated access control and school security systems for the world’s largest Junior Achievement (JA) educational center – the 59,500-square-foot JA World’s Huizenga Center at Broward College in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Scheduled to open this summer, the new center will provide business, economic and consumer educational programs for more than 50,000 elementary and middle school students each year, posing unusual access control and security challenges. “The high volume of students, the different ages of participants and the sensitive nature of the facility’s computers and other equipment required a leading-edge access control system,” said John Ray, III, president of Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale.
Sonitrol, which currently handles the security needs of more schools than any other security firm in the country, designed a system that will provide controlled access, remote monitoring capabilities, motion-activated cameras and verified audio intrusion detection, to diminish false alarms and speed response time.
Our number one goal is ensuring the safety of students,” said Melissa Aiello, president of Junior Achievement South Florida. “We involved Sonitrol early in the planning stage, and the company’s experience and knowledge helped us identify key access and security issues at our facility.” For example, the building is divided into zones with different criteria for access, with additional protection for sensitive areas. JA staff can easily adjust those requirements on-site or remotely as needs change.
By consulting with Sonitrol during project planning, Junior Achievement saved both time and money, according to Ray. “We were able to work strategically with the building’s contractor, Stiles Construction, and the electrician in planning for the center’s wiring needs,” he said. “We were even able to prefabricate conduits into the door frames during the tilt-up construction process.”
Aiello noted that the remote management & monitoring capability of the Sonitrol system are key advantages of the school’s security installation. “Being able to access the system 24/7 securely from anywhere via the Internet allows our team to handle issues more effectively and efficiently,” she said. In addition, Sonitrol’s unique verified audio intrusion detection system allows unusual noises and voices to be heard and analyzed for immediate verification of incidents — virtually eliminating false alarms and speeding response time from Law Enforcement in the event of an emergency.
JA World’s Huizenga Center will be home to two new programs, JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. For fifth graders, JA BizTown will provide a learning environment in which students operate and patronize real businesses, learning to meet goals of satisfying customers, paying off business loans and realizing a profit at the end of the business day. JA Finance Park will enable eighth graders to learn financial responsibility by role-playing a randomly assigned life of an adult, needing to budget for the family’s wants and needs; study financial decisions to be made; consider available options and construct a personal budget.