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University News

Campus Begins Process This Month to Simplify and Enhance Building Security
by Pamela Mclaren


From Dateline (February 5, 2003)

John Lang
Custodian John Lang displays the many keys that he currently uses to enter buildings, classrooms and other areas to complete his work. A campuswide rekeying project will help eliminate some of the keys that he has to carry daily.

When custodian John Lang begins work, as part of his “uniform” he puts on a key ring holding several keys – keys that open each building, as well as each classroom, lab, office and supply closet. Even keys to operate the building’s elevators. Every day, faculty and staff members pull out key chains bulging with sometimes a dozen or more keys – all part of opening the campus for business.

Those days will soon be over, thanks to a rekeying project that is part of the fire-life-safety program funded by last year’s bond measure.

“Under our current system, custodians and police officers need to carry about 40 keys to perform their duties,” explains Chief Judi King of University Police, who is working on the project with Physical Plant.

“This project will reconstruct a great grand master key system for the university,” says Brian Christie, manager of building trades, who is overseeing the rekeying effort. “Our previous system was compromised by the number of lost and misplaced keys over the years. “

Many campus members have not only the keys they need, but keys that they no longer use. When one faculty member recently retired, it was discovered that 300 keys had been checked out to the individual over the years.

Additionally, many faculty members never receive keys for classrooms where they teach, adds King. “So right now the custodians open the buildings and classrooms in the morning and community service officers close them after 10 p.m. Not the best process as far as property security, or personal security in a crisis if faculty members are asked to ‘lock down’ their classrooms.”

“This new program will make it much easier to issue keys, maintain records of keys checked out and for individuals, far fewer keys to carry,” notes Ron Smith, lockshop supervisor.

Work begins this month with the Ruby Gerontology Building. The project, says Willem van der Pol, director of physical plant, “is going to be big, but it will drastically increase building security, and from a maintenance standpoint, we’re making progress because we’re also replacing 40-year-old lock cylinders.”

When completed, general use classrooms and the buildings in which they are housed will open with one key. All other spaces, such as laboratories and offices, will be keyed individually.

The goal is to have all buildings on campus rekeyed by summer 2005, says King. College Park and El Toro are not part of the initial work, but eventually will be added to the system.

“Two weeks prior to rekeying a building, we will post notices on all the doors alerting users to what will be happening, as well as instructions on how to receive new keys,” notes the chief. “Prior to rekeying we will seek lists of individuals, and what keys they will need, from their deans.”

The rekeying will be done when academic staff is on campus to make it easier for individuals to get new keys. “We don’t want to change the locks, say over the holiday break, and have individuals return and have no way of entering their buildings or offices,” says Christie.

A kiosk will be established at each building being rekeyed to provide information about the process and where keys can be issued.

After the rekey process, keys will be kept by University Police and building and general classroom keys will be available for immediate issue with proper authorization. As part of the project, all records will become computerized with automated request forms developed at a later date. All campus members should hold on to their old keys until the rekeying process is completed, notes King.

“We see this as a win-win situation for the entire campus,” says Smith and Christie. “It will enhance security, and make it easier to use, check out and keep track of keys. And the system has been designed to accommodate expansion for at least 20 years.”

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