Case Study: Commercial Security Moves Underground at Meritex in Kansas City
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Case Study: Commercial Security Moves Underground at Meritex in Kansas City

Every business is different, and so are the commercial security challenges that each business faces. It is a rare thing for a commercial business to only need something as simple as a door alarm on the front and rear entrance, and that’s it. Most commercial security systems in Kansas City and around the country rely on a range of interlocking security solutions including access controls, security cameras, and more.

Almost all businesses face unique security challenges relating to the type of business they do, their clientele, the architecture of their building, and even the neighborhood in which they are located. But what if the challenge was tied more directly to the physical location of the business? What if your offices and inventory were underground, buried deep inside a former limestone mine?

How would you even begin to design and implement a commercial security system for a location so remote that it can’t even access a traditional wireless cellular signal? That was the challenge facing A-TEC Security in Kansas City as they helped one such KC area underground storage tenant protect their space and property through an innovative use of wired and wireless security products and services, deep in a limestone cavern.

For purposes of security, the client in question will have to remain anonymous, but the methods used in this case study may be of interest to any business that faces unique commercial security challenges as a result of their location or other factors.

The Client

A nationwide company with a growing Kansas City operation serving micro markets and vending machines across the region, the client houses hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory in a climate-controlled limestone cave system buried deep beneath the city. The caves are also home to their offices for local management and support teams, and act as a distribution hub to local customers. This presents the same security challenges as a warehouse, a delivery hub, and an office space, all roughly 25 meters underground!

Within the caves, the client leases approximately 750,000 square feet of space, around 5,000 of which is dedicated to offices and a cafeteria. This office space contains several doors that need specific security, including the door to the front office and to the delivery docks which need to be accessed by drivers at all hours.

The much larger warehouse space also houses caged and gated areas which require their own security, as well as cold storage facilities which need access controls and alarms to let management know if doors are left open. A door left open overnight on a cold storage facility could obviously have catastrophic consequences for perishable goods stored inside.

Because the client serves a wide network of vending machines and other customers, delivery drivers are coming and going at all hours. Drivers use one of four dock doors to load and unload product, and may need access to cold storage or other facilities within the larger warehouse space, depending on their route and what products they’re dropping off or picking up, so flexible, dynamic, and intuitive access controls are a must.

The Challenge

A 750,000 square foot storage space plus offices would present some interesting security challenges on its own, but when you take into account that it’s buried roughly 25 meters underground in an old limestone mine, those challenges only increase.

The Meritex underground is an ideal location for storage. The caves are naturally climate controlled, with temperatures that remain around 70 degrees year-round—which is why the 3 million square foot caves are home to numerous underground storage tenants, including a portion of the U.S. National Archives.

Being located underground offers certain built-in security advantages, but also presents unusual challenges to the business looking to increase their commercial security coverage. Hundreds of vehicles enter and leave the underground site on a daily basis, and Meritex provides tenants with 24/7 access to their underground storage areas, which are only guarded at night. This means that tenants within the underground facility are responsible for implementing most of their own commercial security measures.

Installing and monitoring a commercial security system deep beneath Kansas City has its own unique challenges. The caves block traditional wireless cellular signals and even 800 MHz radio signals, and drilling through solid limestone walls to run cables isn’t as easy as installing wired security solutions in an above-ground office building.

The client needed access controls for seven doors within their offices, including dock doors that would be accessed during off-hours by delivery drivers, not to mention all the usual commercial security solutions that would go into any other office building or storage space, such as commercial security cameras and NVRs. However, securing and monitoring all those doors and spaces in a limestone cavern meters beneath Kansas City was no easy task.

The A-TEC Security Solution

Before approaching such a unique security challenge, A-TEC Commercial Security in Kansas City met with the client, toured the facility, and drew up plans that would allow them to meet all the client’s commercial security needs without the necessity of drilling through solid limestone walls. Once everyone approved of the plans, they began installing commercial security solutions tailored to the client’s needs.

With so many delivery drivers coming and going, access controls were one of the most important elements of commercial security for the client. Therefore, securing the underground storage facility and distribution hub began with a customized ProdataKey system, including electromagnetic locks on gates, all of which feeds into cloud services which can be accessed from the client’s network or from smartphone apps, even when no one is on site, giving site managers control over the facility anytime, day or night. To fulfill all the client’s commercial security needs, the solution also included a DSC security system, complete with the same kinds of door contacts, glass break sensors, motion sensors, and silent alarms or “holdup buttons” that you might find in a bank. From there, A-TEC moved on to installing Hikvision security cameras within the storage facility—including inside the cold storage areas—and monitoring delivery entrances and doors. The cameras feed into a digital network video recorder (NVR) to store footage for monitoring and review, which is also accessible remotely via apps and a network interface.

The underground location necessitated a creative combination of wired and wireless solutions, custom-tailored to the specific needs and unique geography of the client’s facilities. This meant running wiring for keypads and control panels where office structures allowed, and taking advantage of the AT&T internet access that is wired into the Meritex underground spaces and supported by speeds of up to 1 gig. It also meant adapting existing solutions to fit the needs of the client, and combining commercial security systems where appropriate to create new solutions that met the unique challenges that come with providing commercial security underground.

The Results

Thanks to A-TEC, the client can go about their business without interruptions. Delivery drivers have access to the areas they need, while other areas remain protected. The client is free to grow their business and support their customers, all while monitoring and tracking who’s coming and going, and receiving up-to-date reporting and timely alerts in the event that anything unexpected should occur.

Thanks to the manufacturer apps that come with many of the best commercial security system products, facilities managers and executives can keep their finger on the pulse of everything that’s happening underground, even when they’re not on site. Managers can also “remote in” to do everything from check feeds from security cameras to unlock doors and grant access to drivers who need it.

Business shouldn’t grind to a halt in order to enjoy the benefits of reliable commercial security, and thanks to A-TEC, commercial security is even possible in out-of-the-way places like a limestone cave 25 meters below the city.

About A-TEC Commercial Security in Kansas City

For more than 20 years, A-TEC Security has been providing businesses all over (and under) the Kansas City metropolitan area with dependable and innovative commercial security systems and solutions. From installing and servicing commercial security systems to 24/7 monitoring and more, A-TEC has been involved in almost every aspect of commercial security in Kansas City, and brings decades of expertise to every job that they take on.

From the top floor of office towers to limestone caverns meters beneath the city, A-TEC takes the commercial security of every individual business seriously, and builds custom-made commercial security solutions tailored to the needs of each business they serve, utilizing only the best commercial security devices and technology available.

To learn more about commercial security systems in Kansas City or how A-TEC can help your business meet its unique commercial security needs, contact A-TEC Security today at 913-208-8885.

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