For UI, access is in the cards


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For University of Iowa students and faculty, exterior entrance keys could soon be a thing of the past.

Beginning next fall, all the university’s residence halls will move to a card-access system for exterior doors, said Greg Thompson, the manager for Residence Life operations.

All dorms at present have card access except for Currier, Stanley, and Burge, he said.

“It helps to provide a higher level of safety,” he said.

A card-based system allows management to quickly lock down exterior doors and monitor who enters the building. The reason some residence halls have the access while others don’t is because of the amount of time the systems take to install, which is typically done in the summer.

Cost was also a key factor, Thompson said. Card-equipped doors cost roughly $2,000 for hardware, said Jim Cramer, a database administrator and developer in the UI College of Engineering.

For the UI, this is the beginning of a campuswide move to card-based access.

Last year, faculty and staff in the Pappajohn Business Building handed in their old, metal keys in exchange for cards.

Students are also beginning to benefit from the same system at the building.

Tippie Senate, the college’s student advisory board, is issuing 300 cards to the Pappajohn Business Building as a pilot program.

“I think late-night access is something Tippie wanted to do for a couple of years,” said Tippie Senate President Sam Page. “Tippie Senate views it as a great success because it’s been so long in the making.”

Business students were asked to request cards, and the school saw a huge response, said Associate Dean Lon Moeller. Students began picking up their cards last week.

“The primary benefit is that it gives students more flexibility as to when they study,” he said, noting that business students often do group work beyond normal office hours.

The cards will allow students to enter the building until 1:30 a.m. Pappajohn usually closes at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Depending on the success of the pilot program, business-school officials will likely expand the program in the fall.

Already, UI engineering students benefit from 24-hour access to the Seamans Center, a system implemented in 2000, Cramer said.

Some schools nationwide implemented card-based access years ago. At Ohio State, dorms have been card accessible since 1998, said housing office assistant Corey LaRue.

All dorms have card access on exterior doors and on every floor at the University of Illinois, said Kirsten Ruby, an assistant director of housing.

Sophomore accounting major Jennifer Layer, who lived in Burge last year, said she thinks the cards would be beneficial both for the residence halls and for academic buildings. She requested a card to Pappajohn but didn’t receive one because of a limited supply.

While she said she would use buildings such as Pappajohn to study, she thought residence halls stand to benefit even more.

“The doors of Burge didn’t lock until really late,” she said. “It can be scary watching others walk into the place where you live and have access to a university building.”

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