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Thinking Of Adding An Automatic Gate At Your School? Gate Basics And Three Creative Design Options

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When potential students and their families come to check out your school, a little bit of eye-popping curb appeal may be just as important as your educational track record. You can add to that curb appeal by choosing a creatively designed automatic gate that practically screams welcome. Below you'll find an explanation of the most common types of automatic gates as well as three eye-catching design suggestions.

Automatic Gates – The Basics

Automatic gates make it easier to control access into your campus. On smaller campuses they may guard the entire school, and in larger facilities they may only guard certain sections. Registered students, faculty and other employees are usually assigned a key card or a code to punch-in on a keypad at the gate. In some cases, colleges have 24-hr security and access is granted by a guard, either at the entrance or from a remote area. Three gate styles that are usually best suited for creating that welcome look include the slide, cantilever and swing. Most designs may be operated manually or automatically.

The Slide Gate

Used most frequently in the commercial, industrial and educational market, the slide gate is attached to the inside of the fence and moves back and forth across the gate opening. This gate is supported by rollers that are usually mounted on a metal track. While the rollers make the gates easier to move, in areas where ice and snow are a problem the rollers can get stuck.

The Cantilever Gate

Similar to the slide gate because it does move back and forth across the gate opening, the cantilever gate operates without rollers. Instead, the gate is mounted on rails on the inside of the fence. Since the bottom of the gate doesn't touch the ground, this greatly reduces the ice and snow problems related to the rollers on the slide gates. Though the gate opening may be the same size, the gate itself must be longer to provide a counterbalance when the gate is open.

The Swing Gate

Swing gates operate much like a door. They have hinges on one side and swing in and out. You may opt for a single swing gate for the entire opening or two swing gates that meet in the middle. Since the gate needs more space to open and close, installers usually add boundary lines or safety measures to prevent damage to vehicles when the gates open. Typically the gates swing in upon entering the property, so such markings don't impact the curb appeal. Swing gates are often the first choice of those that want impressive entryways.

Three Creative Gate Designs

Wrought Iron Arch Gates

Among the most elegant of gate designs, the wrought iron arch is reminiscent of entryways during Victorian times. The swing design is preferred, with the two panels meeting at the top of the arch. Craftsmen heat lengths of iron to create spires and delicate swirls and even incorporate logos into the design. This is the ultimate gate welcome, adding a touch of elegance to your campus.

The Old West

Schools in rural, cattle-raising parts of the country may carry on that theme with a gate reminiscent of the Old West. Depending on your design, the slider, cantilever or swing gate style will work. The slider and cantilever styles work best for gates that are straight across, perhaps with an old-time wooden fence design. The swing style is more versatile, allowing you to incorporate creative touches such as a wagon wheel that splits in the middle or an arch that incorporates your school name.

The Contemporary Arch Gate

Also known as the "U" shape gate, this contemporary style is simple and clean-lined, but elegant. Typically opening from the middle, with the two halves meeting at the top of the arch, these gates are often made of simply-shaped wrought iron, wood or even stone. These arch gates are often paired with columns on either side of the driveway. Like the gates, the columns may be simply constructed of brick or stone to provide that understated hint of elegance. Gates may also feature light fixtures on top of each column, all the better to light your way.

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