Feb 172009
Authors: Chloe Wittry

Aiming to increase building security and convenience for students and faculty, keyless entry systems were installed in several CSU buildings and a Facilities Management director confirmed Monday that systems will be integrated campus-wide as funding becomes available.

The university decided to install the keycard access systems — which requires use of the new RamCard 2.0 —- as a university-wide upgrade along with current building renovations and construction of several multi-million dollar facilities.

The new system, which cost about $2,000 per building, has a greater level of security according to Facilities Management. The university now has the ability to track a cardholder’s entrance into each building and the RamCard office can suspend an individual’s card if lost so building security is not compromised.

“If someone loses their card, they can immediately report it as missing and the card can be cancelled so that it will no longer work to access the buildings,” said Brian Chase, the director of facilities management.

With the new system, students will be allowed access to buildings and certain rooms during certain hours. Currently, most open at about 7:45 a.m. and close at 4:45 p.m., after which students can use cards to enter certain labs.

The new RamCards have a built-in computer chip and will replace Master Keys, physical keys that were too much of a security hazard if lost Chase said.

He said, “Master keys, which are used right now, can easily be lost or stolen with no one tracking who is using them, so the new keycard system is much safer.”

To use the new system, students must trade in their old RamCard for the RamCard 2.0.

Through money from student fees granted by The University Technology Fee Advisory Board, which allocates money to improve technology campus-wide, the RamCard office printed and is currently distributing 8,300 new RamCards for free. After those are gone, students will have to pay the price for a replacement card.

Peter Martinez, Associate Director of the RamCard office, said that employees in the RamCard office are going to request more money for replacement cards from UTFAB next week.

Martinez said the office decided to produce 8,300 cards based on funds available and the cost of each individual card.

Students agreed that the new entry system is more convenient.

“I would use it for the computer science building for the 24-hours lab,” Stephanie Buck, senior and human development major said.

Another student is anticipating the system’s usefulness for his class assignments.

“I just got the new card today,” Michael O’Brian, sophomore and technical journalism major said. “It will be nice to complete assignments for my personal computing class at my own leisure because the computer science building is so much more accessible.”

“People like having open access to their campus at all times and this plus the huge benefits of heightened security are what the new keycard system will allow,” Chase concluded.

The new keyless access system is not just for new buildings on campus, it has already been installed in the new Computer Sciences building, and plans are being made to install it in other buildings such as Clark.

Chase said as funds become available, the system will be installed in all university buildings but that the change would take several years.

“It will take about a decade to convert the whole campus because of limited funds,” Chase said.

Staff writer Chloe Wittry can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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