Sophisticated Security


When you think of turnstiles, does your mind immediately conjure images of the traditional three arm turnstiles typically used in stadiums and theme parks? Think again. Today, there are far more sophisticated physical security options available to campus recreation facilities, including a new generation of attractive optical turnstile products.

Optical turnstiles blend beautifully with the high-end architecture of modern rec centers. Clean designs with contoured edges and liberal use of clear materials all contribute to the upscale look of optical turnstiles. In addition, some manufacturers offer custom lid and cabinet colors to match interior decors. Other available options include custom logos on clear panels and decorative LED illumination.

Another benefit of some optical turnstiles is a slim cabinet design, which looks attractive and allows installation of more turnstiles in compact areas. As a finishing touch, some manufacturers can provide custom railings and panels to close off open spaces around installed turnstiles.

Remember, beauty isn’t everything. While aesthetics are important, the number one job of a turnstile is to improve entry point security. Consider these questions when choosing an optical turnstile:

Does it provide the features, functionality and security level desired?

Will it integrate with the existing membership system and card readers?

Does it enhance facility aesthetics?

Does it fit within the budget?

For those considering turnstiles, it’s important to realize that each installation is unique and can be impacted by many factors, including the number of users, traffic patterns and the need to provide ADA access for special needs users. Universities should work with manufacturers that can provide design and layout assistance to help determine the correct quantity and location of turnstiles. Many facilities find a 3D render showing how the turnstiles will look in the contemplated installation area to be helpful.

Today’s turnstiles have evolved beyond simply providing a security barrier. They are more secure, more user-friendly and can be custom designed to match the beauty and innovation of the modern rec center.

Nick Simon, the national sales manager of security products at Alvarado has worked in the physical security products industry for over 14 years. Simon has been involved in numerous university recreation center projects. He can be reached at 800.423.4143, via email at or visit

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