Mortise Lock Status Indicators Support School District’s Safety Priorities and Building Code Requirements While Keeping Costs in Check


Fife School District has one of the highest concentrations of top-ranked public schools in Washington state, serving nearly 4,000 students in and around Tacoma, WA. It recently constructed three schools from the ground up and conducted major upgrades to three of its existing schools. During the construction planning process, the project team prioritized safety and security improvements, including replacing building locking systems on all entry doors and classrooms.

The Challenge

During the course of daily activities, students must be free to enter and exit classrooms without restriction. However, during lockdown drills or active threat events, teachers are required to act quickly to secure doors. But how could teachers and students be confident that doors are locked – especially if the door is some distance away? As with all public school construction, cost was an integral factor. In addition, door locking systems are required to conform to ADA (Americans with Disabilities ACT) guidelines and building code egress requirements.


The Solution

Nearly 200 Corbin Russwin ML2000 Series mortise locks with lock status indicators were installed, or will be installed, on all classroom doors and single-use restrooms.

Status indicators clearly display whether a door is locked or unlocked. They feature a viewing window that is 25 percent larger than the industry standard and incorporate a patent-pending curved design which enables users to easily see the indicator from all angles. They are also available with a reflective coating that improves visibility in low light conditions.

Clint Parrish, director of facilities for Fife Public Schools, said, “We researched all lock status indicator options on the market and determined this was the product that best fit our needs – particularly for our three school upgrade projects. To control costs, we needed a solution that could retrofit our existing doors and frame so we wouldn’t have to replace them. The mortise lock status indicator upgrade kit utilizes the original door prep and leaves no exposed holes, so installation is very easy and straightforward.”

“What’s more, in addition to meeting ADA guidelines and required egress codes, these mortise lock status indicators are user-friendly, the fire department approves of them, and we don’t have to train teachers and staff members how use them.”

Building Code standards require that “the unlatching of any door not require more than one operation.” This simply means that, to open a door, only one act is needed – such as either turning the lever on a lockset, pushing a touchpad or retracting a deadbolt with a thumbturn. The ML2000 Series lock status indicator’s optional large thumbturn meets this requirement.

“Teachers are very pleased with them and, based on the results we’ve seen, the Fife School District made Corbin Russwin ML2000 Series mortise locks with lock status indicators the standard for all classroom doors. It makes sense from a maintenance perspective and ensures that, as staff moves from one building to another, the classroom lockdown procedure is consistent across all schools.”

Clint added, “The status indicators deliver one additional benefit we had not even anticipated. At the end of each day, it takes our custodians much less time to ensure all doors are secure because they can visually see which doors are locked and which are unlocked, without having to physically try every single door. That’s a significant time savings.”

Status Indicator Benefits

• Viewing window 25% larger than industry standard for easy viewing

• Patent-pending curved design provides all-angle visibility

• Upgrade kits available

• ADA compliant

• Single operation egress compliant

• Customizable with text, color and symbols

• Optional reflective coating for low light conditions

• Available in 15 finishes

• Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) available

Typical Installation

• Classroom doors

• Privacy rooms

• Nursing/new mother rooms

• Patient rooms

• Restrooms

• Corporate meditation and nap spaces

• Meeting rooms