The term “commercial door” is a broad one. Truck trailer doors, loading dock doors and commercial glass entry doors may come to mind. But others – like entry doors at public buildings and places of education – probably don’t. But commercial doors entail any type of door that’s not on a private residents, so it does encompass doors in settings such as colleges and universities. Higher ed buildings must accommodate many services and needs – from student housing, to personnel and office settings, to food service, storefronts and the classroom area – so many different kinds of doors are required.

Higher Education Has High Expectations for Exterior Doors

Doors at higher ed campuses receive heavy daily use because of the amount of traffic going to and fro. Nowadays, there’s also the need to ensure doors are secure, so high quality materials and safe door design are a priority. Not to mention that the days of just strutting into a random dorm are gone. Virtually all higher ed institutions use door and gate automation – usually key cards – to ensure the students who live inside are safe.

There’s also the efficiency component; higher ed institutions are emphasizing savings on utility bills and decreasing carbon footprint by installing more energy-efficient doors. This is another variable that key cards have helped to improve as well.

Facilities managers are the guys who do the work of maintaining the campus, whether it’s dorms, classrooms or grounds. They’re the ones who have to deal with repairing these commercial doors, so they want sturdy, hardy doors so door maintenance is minimal. Because, let’s be honest – no one is gentle with those push-bar interior and exterior wood doors that are all over most campuses. Facilities workers must also respond to concerns about heightened security at institutions of higher learning, what with an increase of active shooters and other attacks. More secure doors will be called for at certain locations around campus, depending on the function of rooms.

In addition to these functional expectations that make these commercial doors convenient and secure for everybody, upper management has to think about the appearance of the campus. Exterior steel doors aren’t going to make sense on a 200-year-old building, no matter how secure and durable they are. And you want your campus to be cohesive and attractive, both to potential students and potential donors.

Exterior Wood Doors Dominate Most Campuses

While any campus can choose any type of doors for their campus, more often than not we see wood doors reinforced by metal plates and push bars. Exterior wood doors aren’t just wood anymore; most are solid-core doors. Solid-core wood commercial doors are perfect for any setting with heavy use, like public and campus buildings, because they’re reinforced on the inside. A core of wood filler or wood composite inside a wooden frame completely changes the strength and durability of the door without compromising the high-end appearance of an interior or exterior wood door.

Different Buildings Need Different Commercial Door Installation

  • Dorms and Offices

Doors in public areas of the college, in dormitories and other professional settings must look good as well as function properly. Doors manufactured in stainless steel, fiberglass, composite, FRP or wood can be used in these areas, and in most cases you can find a model to meet safety requirements in these materials.

  • Fire-Rated Doors

Most of a college’s building will need fire-rated doors. These doors are designed to shut automatically and lock down, and to prevent key firebreaks, as well as tampering that might compromise the doors’ integrity. Fire-rated doors must be inspected and maintained regularly.

  • Replace Counter and Rolling Doors

Manual rolling, counter and overhead doors are regularly being replaced with automated types. While metal options have ruled the marketplace, attractive wooden options are now available.

  • Warehouses, Mechanical Rooms, Delivery Bays

Look into vinyl strip roll curtains to limit weather, insects and debris, while improving energy efficiency and allowing easy entrance and egress from trucks, forklifts and foot traffic.

  • Safety and Security
    • In light of increasing attacks on vulnerable student and staff populations at institutions of higher ed, the safety standards should be high. Maintaining energy-efficient door systems should also be key.
    • Schools nationwide are turning to technology for safety solutions, including advanced locking mechanisms, steel doors, bulletproof glass, lockdown potential, automated silent shooter alarms; and remote, smart gardent access smart card remote access and operation controls, with the ability to integrate door systems.

College Campuses Should Work With Licensed Pros

The needs of a college campus will well exceed those of the average small business when it comes to installing secure doors. It’s important to hire a licensed, experienced commercial door vendor and installer. The door installer should be able to work with building plans, safety and legal requirements, and evacuation policies for the safety of the students and personnel. Having professional exterior door installers contracted for your campus’ doors is just smart: you take pressure off the Facilities Department and you ensure all repairs on commercial doors everywhere on campus are done properly. Always verify a commercial door installation and repair company’s credentials before letting them perform any services, and remember to schedule regular inspections and maintenance.