Oct 242011
 
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

About two weeks ago, junior Myles Robinson returned to his dorm room in Braiden Hall and found a new lock in place. While he was out for the day, maintenance had replaced his lock and key with a card-reading device.

“One day and it was done,” Robinson said. “There was no fuss.”

As of Oct. 15, all of the rooms in Braiden Hall had switched from a traditional lock and key system to electronic, proximity keys (prox keys). According to Tonie Miyamoto, the director of communications and sustainability for Housing and Dining Services, CSU hopes to eventually replace all traditional room locks with electronic ones.

“Putting electronic access on student room doors is ongoing as we are able to plan the installation with renovation projects,” Miyamoto said in an email to Collegian. “Student room access is a goal we continue to work toward as budget and renovation projects allow.”

The switch is an extension of former President Robert Yates’ 2002 mandate that all dorms move to electronic access for exterior access. Two years later, Housing and Dining Services decided to add electronic locks to individual rooms, not just building entry points.

The benefits of this change, according to Miyamoto, include improved convenience and safety.
“With electronic access, we have fewer key switch outs and can make adjustments in the system more easily,” Miyamoto said.

Miyamoto didn’t know the cost of the switch, but said that electronic access systems have become comparable with hard key systems over the past few years. The only additional cost is that of replacing the existing systems.

Hard locks, or traditional locks, cost about $150 to $200 per lock whereas the electronic locks cost $300 to $400.

“The cost difference is partially if not fully offset by the convenience and flexibility related to the electronic access system which helps us reduce overhead costs for both academic year operation and summer conference season,” Miyamoto said.

Currently, all three dorms in the Academic Village, Summit Hall and Braiden Hall have electronic access for all student rooms. Parmelee Hall will join the group when renovations are completed this summer.

Students with prox keys generally like them. Robinson enjoyed the convenience of carrying one key instead of two. Dan Rideot, a sophomore forestry biology major, liked that he didn’t have to search for the key to open his door.

“It was pretty convenient,” said Rideot, who lived in Summit Hall last semester and used a prox key. “I didn’t even have to take it out. I could just scan my whole wallet.”

Not everyone liked the change, however.

Jordan Glass, an undeclared freshmen, said he thought the prox key could potentially be less safe, since theft or loss of the card would leave access open to both the building and the room.

“I would not feel secure if someone stole that card,” Glass said. “For getting into the buildings, it’s fine. For my room, I’d rather have a physical key.”

Miyamoto said prox keys are actually safer. If a student’s card is stolen, the access code for the door can be reprogrammed. Students with a stolen card should report the loss to the front desk.
“In the old system students had to turn in hard keys and be issued new keys,” Miyamoto said. “With electronic access, key cards can be deleted as soon as they are lost and/or stolen and replacement cards can be centrally programmed very quickly.”

Collegian writer Elisabeth Willner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:45 pm

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