Founded in 1865, The University of Kentucky (UK) is a public university located in the heart of the bluegrass — Lexington, Ky. The university is the largest in the state, with more than 30,000 students and more than a 13,000-person workforce. In addition to academic and residential complexes, the campus also consists of three medical centers, including a Level I trauma center. 

When the University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD) first began exploring options to centralize access control on campus, it discovered 72 different security systems in use. 

“We assessed every system in the process of developing a new standard,” said Joe Monroe, chief of police, UKPD. An initial rollout with a startup manufacturer deployed a Mercury Security-based system. Unfortunately, the software was unable to scale to meet the university’s needs. It required too much human input to create access levels and experienced issues with integrations. To simplify operations, UKPD decided to upgrade to a scalable, enterprise-level solution open to third-party integrations. 

UKPD researched successful installations at other large campuses which led to a partnership with systems integrator Stanley Security. UKPD met with Stanley’s Software Solutions Group to discuss system requirements and selected LenelS2’s OnGuard for access control across campus. 

Stanley software engineers and UK’s IT infrastructure team mapped out the installation in detail in advance of deployment. The team then tested the new system in selected buildings, and the results were instantly positive. “Through close teamwork, we were able to seamlessly convert over to OnGuard through careful planning of integrations and by utilizing the existing Mercury panels,” said Vicky Daugherty, senior national account manager, Stanley Security. 

Today, the deployment includes more than 9,000 access control points, 4,000 of which feature integrations with ASSA ABLOY Wi-Fi locks. UKPD is the main administrator of the security system and has an operations center based in the police department. However, managing such a large system requires a team approach. OnGuard allows UKPD to easily delegate security management of buildings and departments to stakeholders who have been vetted and trained. 

The system includes robust lockdown capabilities in the event of an active shooter or other serious incident. Lockdowns can secure specific areas or the entire campus. 

A custom integration with SAP identity management automatically transfers information about students and staff, such as move-in/out dates, into the OnGuard system. For example, UKPD no longer needs to spend a week at the beginning and end of each semester manually activating and deactivating student access to residence halls. 

“We’re always looking at ways to combine security and operational efficiency to benefit our community,” said Nathan Brown, major, UKPD. “The open nature of the OnGuard system allows us to implement integrations that not only enhance security but also save hundreds of man-hours per semester.” 

UK now has a comprehensive security system that allows for integrations that improve security and simplify operations. In the future, UKPD plans to expand the access control system to cover every door across campus, enabling them to do away with physical keys. 

“The OnGuard system works so seamlessly that students and faculty across campus have gained further confidence in our department,” Monroe said. “Our goal is for members of the community to maintain peace of mind so they can focus on studies and work.”