Facilities Planning

Secure Storage of Secondary Examinations - Department Approval of Safes and Walk-in Vaults

Department policy requires that all schools ordering secondary examinations (Regents examinations, Regents competency tests, and proficiency examinations) obtain Department approval for secure storage in a burglarproof safe or walk-in vault. Every examination order placed for a school must be accompanied by a written agreement delineating the school's examination storage plan signed by the principal. 

The principal of a school ordering examination materials for the first time must make arrangements for the school's safe or walk-in vault to be inspected by a Department representative before secure examination materials will be shipped to the school. Also, newly constructed vaults, existing vaults that have been modified, or newly purchased safes must be inspected by a Department representative before secure examination materials may be stored in those facilities. Approval of such storage facilities is contingent upon the facilities' meeting all of the criteria outlined below. If your school's safe or walk-in vault has not been approved, but you believe it meets the criteria outlined below, please contact Curriculum and Assessment at (518) 474-0360 to arrange for an inspection. Secure examination materials will not be shipped to any storage location that has not received Department approval. 

The following guidelines are offered for the use of school personnel and their architects and engineers in complying with Department criteria for such facilities.

Walk-in vaults must meet all the following criteria:

  • Floor: poured concrete 
  • Walls: reinforced concrete or reinforced cement block, sealed to the poured concrete floor below and structural floor or roof deck above
  • Door: metal door and metal frame 
  • Door hardware: At a minimum, medium duty, comprising a classroom-function lockset with dead locking latch bolt and hinges inside the walk-in vault, or external welded-pin hinges Windows and access panels are prohibited.

Safes must meet or exceed the burglary resistance performance standards incorporated in Underwriters Laboratories (UL) classification TRTL-30, and must have all of the following:

  • steel door at least 1«" thick
  • steel walls at least 1" thick
  • 750 lbs. minimum weight
  • built-in combination lock
  • minimum inside dimensions sufficient to contain locked Regents boxes (not only their contents) for a school's typical examination order.

Examination booklets are shipped to schools in one of several container sizes, depending on the size of the school's order and the availability of boxes at the time of shipment. The containers may be stored in any orientation. Orders of up to 600 booklets may be packed in boxes measuring up to 11"x20"x27", while orders of 1200 or more booklets may be packed in chests measuring 15"x24"x28". 

The principal of a school building that does not have a Department-approved safe or walk-in vault must make arrangements at the time of ordering to store the locked Regents boxes containing secure examination materials in an approved safe or walk-in vault in another school, school district building, or BOCES building. Regents boxes may not be stored in a bank or any other non-educational building, because restricting access to them at such locations is often difficult. Also, Regents boxes may be delivered at any time between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and non-educational facilities may not be open or able to receive Regents boxes at all times during those hours.

Principals who cannot make arrangements for the secure storage of examination materials or who have any questions concerning the secure storage and handling of secondary examinations should contact the office of Office of Curriculum and Assessment at (518) 474-0360.

Last Updated: June 19, 2009