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The Blue & Gray Press | August 16, 2017

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Apartments to Adopt Keycard System for Entering Buildings

By RYAN MARR

Nearly five years after the installation of the first card access systems in the other campus residence halls, residents of the UMW Apartments will soon be required to carry key cards in order to gain access to their apartment buildings.

The installation is set to be completed by the end of May and will cost the UMW Foundation, which owns the property, approximately $300,000.

According to John Wiltenmuth, associate vice-president for Facilities Services, the installation will fulfill the university’s wish to bring all campus residence facilities up to a common standard. The project was delayed due to the apartment complex’s reliance on private funding, which the UMW Foundation had not previously budgeted for the installation.

The UMW Foundation, which also owns houses on the corner of College Avenue and William Street, is an independent, non-profit corporation responsible for managing private resources in support of the university.  The Foundation is also funding the construction of Eagle Village.

Despite the high cost of installation and the indifferent attitude of many students towards security concerns, Director of Residence Life Chris Porter maintains her support for the card access system.

“Any system is only as effective as the students who use it allow it to be,” Porter said. “When folks let people they don’t know trail in behind them, they are compromising the safety of their community.”

Added benefits of the card access system include centrally-controlled automatic locks, a record of entry useful for incident investigations and the ability to freeze lost student keycards.

However, Porter emphasized the role that students play in the access system’s success.

“We can install the most advanced door access system in the world and if community members are going to ignore their own safety, it’s not going to make a difference,” Porter said.

Student reaction to the new security system was mixed.

Senior Brad Fisher felt that the added security measures were a bit superfluous.

“It’s kind of a hassle,” he said. “It’s just another door to get locked behind if I forget my keys. Plus, it renders my doorbell useless, since guests won’t be able to get into the building anymore.”

However, Monica Fritz-Manolio, also a senior, welcomed the change.
“It’s much less convenient, but considering an RA left my door open all of Thanksgiving Break last year, I’ll feel much better with the new system in place,” Fritz-Manolio said.

“It would also really cut down on mail-spam,” she said in reference to the unrequested flyers and advertisements some apartment residents occasionally receive under or on their doors.

According to Wiltenmuth, if the state provides funding, the University plans to install card access systems in all academic and administrative buildings within the next six years.

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