STORY BY ALEX PAYNE
Walking to a set of doors on Drake University’s campus and finding only one that will open may soon be a thing of the past.
Responding to faculty, students and staff, Drake Public Safety officials have decided to add 11 doors to the new electronic locking system.
These extra doors will not include additional card swipes. However, they will unlock more doors during the days, said Director of Campus Public Safety Scott Law.
For students, like sophomore Megan Ellis, the new doors will make buildings more accessible.
“It will be nice to have more so you will not have to guess which door to go in,” Ellis said.
Last February, through a bid process with Blackboard, the university purchased the new security system. The original bid was to install one access point per set of doors in 36 of the buildings on campus. Law said the university increased the number when the bid started to add a couple extra buildings to the system.
After the start of the new school year, it became obvious that the system needed to expand soon.
“With feedback from both our faculty and our students when they came back for the school year, they felt that there are a few buildings that it poses a potential problem, in that they do not have enough access points,” Law said. “Primarily, those buildings are Aliber, Olmsted, the library and Harvey Ingham.”
The system was put in place to help secure campus in the event of an emergency. With the new system, Drake Public Safety officers do not have to run from building to building and physically lock every door. All of the doors on campus that are hooked up to the system can be locked in an instant.
“From Public Safety dispatch, or from IT headquarters, we are able to lock the campus down by pushing a button,” Law said. “So from a safety standpoint, which was our primary reason for doing this, it drastically increases our ability to secure the buildings and provide a safe environment in the event we had a disaster or an emergency situation come up.”
However, with that safety some conveniences were taken away. To combat this problem, 11 new doors will be added.
The doors do come at a cost. Each door costs at least $2,000. That is why the system is installed in phases. More doors will be added as needed.
“I think that when people become more used to it, they are going to want to add in some other areas to the campus,” Law said.
The new system may be a hassle for some, but Law pointed out the added benefit of offering extended access hours to the buildings for students.
“I know a lot of the music and art students like the fact that they can get in there after hours to practice their instruments and things like that,” Law said.
Many students are also happy with how the cards make the entrance to residence halls easier.
Ellis, who lives in Jewett Hall, likes that she does not have to ring a doorbell to be let in by someone else. She can just use her student ID and get into the building.
Law said the university chose the most modern and expandable system.
He said the system will not be obsolete in five years, but can be expanded with entry options for students. Eventually, students may be able to use their cell phones or even their own fingerprint to access buildings on campus.
If all goes as planned, the new doors should be up and running by the end of October.