3xLOGIC, Inc., working alongside Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale, completed a security system upgrade for Junior Achievement of South Florida (JASF) at the organization’s JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion (JA World). JA World is located on the Broward College North Campus in Coconut Creek, Fla.

With over 60,000 square feet of learning areas, rentable meetings rooms, and the Huizenga Catering Kitchen, JA World is the largest Junior Achievement facility in the world. Each year, more than 21,000 5th grade and 20,000 8th grade students from Broward and south Palm Beach counties visit the facility. The 5th graders learn basic economic concepts, workplace skills, and personal and business finances in a simulated city built for young students; the 8th graders focus on how their educational choices will impact their future earning potential, managing a budget and learn about high growth industries to help spark their career exploration.

“Each day, 450 students participate in JA BizTown and JA Finance Park simulations at JA World,” said Laurie Sallarulo, president and CEO, JASF. “Their safety and the safety of our volunteers, staff, and guests is of the utmost concern to us”

Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale started working with JASF in 2008, in the early design/build phase of the facility, and through its completion in 2009. The initial security system included remotely managed access control, verified audio intrusion detection, and analog cameras. At the time, IP cameras were considered too expensive.

“Previously, we had 18 analog cameras on the system,” explained Leni Smith, director of operations for JASF. “As time went on, it was clear that we needed to bring more areas inside and outside the building under surveillance. We wanted to access more cutting-edge IP camera technology, and we wanted to have all our surveillance under one video management system (VMS).”

Working in tandem, Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale and 3xLOGIC designed a system upgrade that, through a combination of discounts and donations, JASF could afford. It also helped that John Ray, president of Sonitrol Fort Lauderdale, is a long-time, active JASF board member. In order to fit JASF’s budget, Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale installed a 3xLOGIC hybrid NVR, enabling JASF to protect their analog camera investment, while adding in higher-resolution IP cameras for expanded coverage. The hybrid solution also creates a migration path, allowing JASF to continue improving visibility with new IP cameras over time as their budget allows. 

“As part of ongoing security and safety improvements, our staff participates in an annual active shooter training,” explained Monica McNerney, vice president, operations. “During those trainings, two things became clear. We needed to cover more areas with surveillance, and we needed to partner more closely with local law enforcement to give them real-time access to our system in case of an emergency.”

JASF has a number of discrete areas under surveillance, and manages viewing them through use of the 3xLOGIC VIGIL server software. These include the reception area, two loading dock areas, other exterior doors, their large meeting rooms, and the student areas, known as JA BizTown and JA Finance Park, where 450 young people spend most of their time each day at JA World. The receptionist controls public access to the building by viewing who is requesting entry, and buzzing that person in. The receptionist also monitors the loading dock area and notifies the appropriate staff member when a delivery has arrived.

Smith, who manages day-to-day security matters, reviews video after an incident is reported to her. “I really like how with the upgraded system I can use motion detection alarms to hone in on exactly the video I need to review — I bet we’ve cut the time for review easily in half, if not more. I also really value how I can draw a box in a camera view and zoom into that area easily and quickly to find out exactly what happened.”

McNerney expanded on how the upgraded system is positively impacting another aspect of the JASF security program. “We work very closely with our community partners like Broward College security and local law enforcement to help them understand and access our facility and security system. We also routinely ask for their expert feedback on whether we’re managing our security effectively. So far, they’ve told us we’re doing exactly what we need to be doing, and they’re excited about the expanded access they have to our camera views, although we hope that no event ever warrants that need.”

Jennifer Thomas, vice president of operations for Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale, also discussed continued improvements that are planned for JA World. “We are actively designing phase II of the camera upgrade, which will include improved coverage and image clarity for camera views outside the front doors. We are also ready to deploy our latest technology for the main lobby area —TotalGuard. TotalGuard is a great solution for emergency situations; it allows JASF personnel to alert the Sonitrol central station and transmit real-time audio and video to the monitoring center, for prioritized verified police response.”

Sallarulo had a final thought on how things have been going with the system upgrade, “As for Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale, they always provide us an amazing response. As a nonprofit, we could not do what we do without the help of partners like Sonitrol. We are very grateful for their support and service.”