|Westview Acres Apartment Complex
|Typical building front door at Westview Acres|
Westview Acres is a 20-acre, market-rate, garden-style, rental apartment complex in Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The complex comprises 449 apartments at 49 addresses in 34 concrete solid plaster wall buildings. Each address has both a front and back door. There also is an office, maintenance facility, and swimming pool. A door separates the public and private areas of the complex office, the maintenance facility has two doors, and the swimming pool has a gate. The complex was built in 1950.
Competition for reliable rental tenants is especially fierce in economically depressed areas such as Cleveland’s western suburbs, where Parma is located. That’s the main reason that Joe and Marcie Chiro, who have owned Westview Acres since 1990, developed an overall security plan for their property. “We wanted to lock the doors on our buildings but I didn’t just want to have a plain lock system,” says Mr. Chiro. He particularly wanted to avoid the expense and annoyance of rekeying if a master key were ever lost. “We’re trying to make it better so more people want to live here,” he says.
Even though initially Westview Acres planned to use only the basic features of its access control system, the Chiros wanted to invest in a state-of-the-art system with scalable features they could use if and when the need — or the interest — arose. Weather was also a factor. The entry system would have to be rugged enough to withstand the wide spectrum of weather northern Ohio offers. And because Westview Acres is an older complex, the wiring and installation could take longer than initially expected.
The Keri Solution
The access control system at Westview Acres uses a Keri Systems Entraguard Titanium Telephone Entry System unit at the front door of each of the complex’s 49 addresses. Keri MS-3000 MicroStar Proximity Reader units controlled by Keri PXL-500 controllers are mounted at both front and back doors of each address, as well as on the interior office door, the maintenance shop doors, and the pool. All functions are under the DoorsTM software umbrella. PKT-10X Proximity Key Tags are issued to tenants and employees.
“I think the system has had a positive impact but I can’t put a number on it,” says Mr. Chiro. The system went live in mid-2005, and he estimates that occupancy rose from 90-91 percent in winter to 93-94 percent in June 2005. One surprise result was where some of those new tenants came from: the complex down the street. “We’ve taken quite a few of the residents of a neighboring complex without even seeking them. Their doors are a regular key type that requires tenants to come downstairs rather than buzz in. Our system is convenient. They can buzz through the door, and talk to people. There’s nothing like that in the other building,” he says.
He also says that the Keri proximity readers have brought both ease of entry and a greater feeling of security to Westview Acres tenants. Rather than fumbling to insert and turn a key in a lock, they can simply “wave the key tag in front of the reader, it opens the door, and they’re in.” This is especially important if someone is approaching the building and fears that they’re being followed.
Problems with people passing out flyers, soliciting residents without permission, and dumping junk mail in the buildings have been eliminated. “Now we have control over these things,” Mr. Chiro says.
Marcie Chiro is the system administrator. She found that “once you get past the learning curve, Doors software is easy.” She particularly likes the level of detailed information that Doors software reports provide. “We know when people are entering and leaving, and it’s easy for us to activate key tags for new tenants and employees, and deactivate tags if one gets lost, or falls into the wrong hands,” she says.
During installation, tenants did experience a slight disruption in the public areas. Says Joe Chiro, “We did have to tear up some places. But it didn’t affect the living areas and it didn’t stay that way very long.” The tenants weren’t upset, he adds. ”
They knew this was the path to progress.”