Syracuse Hancock International Airport Terminal Security and Access Improvements

Syracuse Hancock International Airport’s existing security systems, including both electronic access control and closed circuit television, had exceeded their useful life and were experiencing periodic failures. C&S designed a  facility-wide complete security system replacement, including electronic access control, closed circuit television, all associated hardware and software, and fire alarm interfaces. We designed a complete security management system, which included putting both the electronic access control system and the closed circuit television system on the same platform. This complete integration between both systems increased the effectiveness and reliability of the system and improved overall security at the airport. The increased security greatly decreases the chance of a security event, defined as any successful breach of a component of a security program.

A major challenge for this project was providing reliable and adequate power supplies to each component of the system. The available power for any device is only a scant 15 watts. With many devices requiring power—the sounder, electronic access control components for each door, cameras, access controlled doors, and more—finding a way to meet the demand was crucial.

During design, contractors and manufacturers indicated that an auxiliary power source would be needed at each door to power audio-visual alarms. This additional cost was above the budget, so a unique solution had to be found. C&S realized that there was available power—around 5 watts—at each door, but currently no way to use it to power the audio-visual alarm. Our team solved the problem by finding a way to use power from the non-latching relay output for the door held/forced alarm, enabling the audio-visual alarm to function without an additional power source. This project was the first installation at an airport that did not use an auxiliary power source for the local audio-visual alarms required by TSA. This innovation significantly reduced costs and allowed the airport to install additional devices to further ensure the safety of passengers and staff.

The security system is designed on an open platform methodology, meaning that all components are from third-party manufacturers, eliminating proprietary systems. This is a key component in designing a system that will last 20 years. A challenge with this type of methodology is that manufacturers do not necessarily test how their components integrate with other manufacturers. This project used a Cisco switch, HID Edge controller, and STI audio-visual alarm, a scenario that had not been tested by any of the manufacturers. In fact, the companies felt the C&S-designed system would not work. Through extensive investigations, critical load calculations, and wide-ranging tests, C&S determined that the solution would work. This was the key element that allowed the airport to achieve its objective of a safer, more secure airport.

Overall, the project benefitted significantly from the advanced technology and innovative solutions. The construction budget was reduced because auxiliary power sources were not required. Fewer conductors, conduit, and hardware were required for the entire project and considerable labor costs were avoided. Additionally, reducing the quantity of components minimizes the number of component failures that could occur. Other benefits include reduction in periodic maintenance and on-site spare parts storage. Finally, the money saved by not using auxiliary power sources allowed for installation of additional security devices.

The airport is committed to sustainability and is in the midst of a major green renovation of the passenger terminal (the project has a goal of LEED certification). This project contributed to sustainability goals by reducing the amount of power-consuming devices in the facility, saving energy and raw materials.

The original project called for direct replacement of existing security systems for a total construction cost of $811,000. The PoE technology coupled with C&S’s innovative audio-visual alarm design resulted in a final cost of just $754,000, which includes an additional 43 cameras and 15 access controlled doors that were not part of the original scope.

This project received a 2011 Diamond Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies New York—the highest level of award given at the state level.