The University of Toronto is located in the downtown area of the city, so the campus has foot traffic from approximately 100,000 students and patrons every day. Ensuring the safety of its students is a tall order, and the responsibility falls on the university’s public safety unit — the campus police.
Ensuring student safety against a variety of threats is no easy task. Campus police must be able to respond and react to a situation at a moment’s notice. To do so requires seamless communication over miles of campus space with tens of thousands of people. Communication, whether it is with each other, fellow students, faculty, local police or more, is the key to the job.
Campus police realized their communication center, which services the entire tri-campus university, was in need of a renovation to better serve and protect the students. But the space itself had its challenges. The University of Toronto Campus Police had very limited workspace, compounding an already challenging situation. These space limitations can be common among universities. As student populations rise, space becomes a valuable commodity.
“We knew we had space restrictions because everything needed to be housed in one central room, and that space is roughly 20 foot by 40 foot,” said Alan Truong, manager, security systems and services of the University of Toronto Campus Police. “When we were looking at our renovation and development plan, we were trying to fit everything in terms of access control, 24/7 employee utilization along with all of the operational systems required.”
This 800-square foot space needed to include multiple desks, a video screen and a scalable computer monitor stand for the 80-plus employees to use on an ongoing basis.
Campus Police began working with Minneapolis-based Winsted Corporation, a manufacturer of technical furniture and control room consoles. Winsted has installed control room consoles and furniture for universities, company world headquarters, national monuments, casinos and many more sites.
Working with a local architecture firm, the campus police engaged Winsted to partner with them and help meet the challenges of the small, but critical control space. Tasked with meeting the specific needs of campus police in a confined space, the Winsted team scouted the location to determine how best to maximize square footage.
“Although our space was limited, Winsted presented us with a variety of options that would have worked well for our needs,” Truong said.
The Winsted team was able to offer the police service many different types of desk setups, stains and more — all that fit within their space constraints. The winning solution was Winsted’s Prestige Ascend Sit/Stand Consoles.
Campus Police was outfitted with six Ascend consoles with custom millwork. The Ascend consoles include many features that lend themselves to critical control rooms, including a Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, electric-lift legs, easy-access cable management and multiple-purpose doors.
The consoles offer three programmable height settings for versatility and comfort, allowing the desks to be adjusted to any height. This is a particularly helpful feature when multiple communications officers use the same space on any given day.
Within a few months, the newly designed room was fully outfitted and operating smoothly.
“Winsted was with us since day one,” Truong said. “Communication was always open and their reps would follow up with everything we asked of them. They still follow up with us to make sure we have absolutely no problems.”