Having a formal process for Key Control, from assignment and distribution to inventory and retrieval, is essential to the security of your educational organization and the safety of administrators, students, faculty/teachers and staff.
In a recent discussion on the Facility Masters Listserv, our peers shared their best practices and key control processes.
My office manages keys for 8 buildings, and we have around 400 keys. We utilize software called “Key Organizer” which is very simple yet works very well for documenting the quantity of keys in storage, which keys go to which buildings/rooms/etc., who has which keys, also has a very simple key expiry date which notifies you when the key is due to be returned.
We have all requests go through my office, and one of my assistants handles all the key processing, but all key issues require my signature.
This system also provides an excellent way of seeing at any given time who has access to any space in our facility by showing who has a key to that room, who has a section master, who has a regional master, and in the end who has a grand master. This has been extremely valuable in certain incidents on campus.
Eric Roosma – Director of Facilities and Safety – Kuyper College, MI
We use Best key system for our master key control. All keys are kept at my office. They sign for the keys when they get them (at my office). We do not have them turn the keys in for the summer because we have card access, and I control the access with the cards.
Ed Consalo – Derry Township School District, PA
We keyed locks a little different to cut down confusion, cost and to keep it simple.
1. One master key fits all locks and a “very few” are issued.
2. The other master key fits classroom doors only. Teachers/administrative staff only.
We do not ask for them during the summer for returning teachers. They are responsible for the keys as well as the key cards. Departing teachers and staff are required to turn in both keys and keycards. Not turned in…we charge. Lost keys and keycards, we charge. The option to pay to rekey the facility is always open…briefed to all…it helps!
Roland Jenkins – Facilities Director – Trinity Episcopal School, NC
We have the Best system, and we track keys via computer as they are assigned. Teachers are required to keep keys in their mailboxes at the end of the day, and during the summer the secretaries re-confirm the keys assigned. If a teacher leaves or is moved to another building the keys are returned to inventory.
One other thing I have done is to let the teachers know that if they are moving from one room to another for the next year within the same building, their lock core will travel with them so there is no reason to return or reassign keys. This places the security of their room squarely in their hands so they do not try and get keys copied for other people to use. This system has been in place for about 8 years now and is working well.
David Martin – Eden CSD, NY
We use a simple spreadsheet to track the issue, loss and re-issue of keys. With 25 buildings and the process of placing each lock onto the BEST lock system, it is critical to be able to maintain an accurate database. The process includes a manager’s oversight, our admin assistant to maintain and update the various daily entries, and the employee who actually cuts the keys. By eliminating access from the rest of the community and the other Facilities employees, we have been able to manage the system, avoid multiple input errors, and have an account for each asset.
We have also instituted a policy, that regardless of who loses a key, they will be charged $25.00 for a lost key. With students, a lost key immediately calls for the replacement of the lock core and issue of two new keys again for the charge of $25.00 for the student who lost the key. With Faculty and Staff, the impending charge often produces the “lost” key.
Corrado Paramithiotti – Director of Facilities Planning & Operations – Landmark College, VT