Western’s multi-generational security and key systems will be facing major changes starting with the rekeying of external locks in residence halls and academic buildings.
The project in total is expected to cost $6.2 million and will be part of Western’s 2017-2019 biennial budget request to the state Legislature, Director of Communications Paul Cocke said.
By fall quarter of 2016, Western plans to have the first phase of their access control, ability to enter the campus and its facilities, security upgrade plan completed. The goal is to implement of a master key system.
Students living in residence halls were notified of the changes in an email sent in late April.
The system will “simplify the logistics involved with tracking and managing different systems,”Cocke said.
“The majority of the $6.2 million in funding will come from the Legislature, if and when
Western’s request for funding is approved by the Legislature. The first phase is being paid for by Western out of existing funds.” Cocke said.
As part of Western’s Ten-Year Plan, which started in fall 2014, security upgrades regarding access control were denied funding twice, both as part of Western’s 2015-2017 biennial budget and Western’s 2016 capital budget requests, Cocke said.
The rekeying of residence halls’ exterior doors is already happening and academic buildings will be completed in the summer, Cocke said.
While this is the first phase in an extensive security upgrade and will be funded by Western, the next phases of the project don’t have as clear as a future.
“The next phases will begin after the Legislature approves the funding.” Cocke said.
“Students living in residence halls have already been informed in several ways including notifying the Residence Hall Association which is made up of student representatives living in those halls,” Cocke said. “After that further communication went out to residents and they were asked to share any problems immediately with the RAs.”
Students of Fairhaven residence halls have already been affected by the rekeying process.
“They’ve changed some of the doors that were entrance and exit doors into doors that are only exit now,” freshman Rob Clark said. “With the culture of Fairhaven I don’t think many students would complain outright, but I definitely think it’s an annoyance.”
In an email sent out to residents to Fairhaven, it was stated only one door on the back of the buildings would become an exit. Additionally, laundry rooms inside the residence halls, which required the use of the old exterior lock key, would remain unchanged in stacks two and three.
“I don’t know why they didn’t just make both doors exits, if it’s a safety issue then they might as well do it to both,” Clark said.
Universities, such as the University of Denver, have already begun implementing similar access control policies, according to a Campus Safety Magazine online article “Univ. of Denver Upgrades Access Control to Improve Security.”
According to the same article, the upgrades in Denver are to be finished in 2017 after starting in 2015 at a cost of $3.5 million. Instead of rekeying locks, Denver plans to include card scanners and other electronic locks.
The University of Alberta upgraded their security systems to a card scanner system which charges the individuals wishing to gain access control $15 a card, according to the University of Alberta website.
“Access control is a very important issue at campuses across the country,” Cocke said.