Campus card access will be the key to convenience

By April DeJarlais

Smartly whipping out an ID card and swiping it to gain entrance into a dorm building may sound far more attractive than fumbling for keys, but that fantasy may have to be put on hold. While elements of card access have been at Macalester for 18 years, the whole campus has not yet been converted from the lock-and-key system.The installation of card access to buildings at Macalester is progressing, although systems for dorm buildings are on the backburner, said Terry Gorman, director of security. Gorman said that as campus buildings are remodeled and built, card access will be taken into account and installed.

Buildings that currently use card access include the new Leonard Center, Olin-Rice, the Humanities building, the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Old Main, Kirk’s computer lab, the Campus Center, Kagin Commons, Carnegie Science Hall, and WMCN radio. The Institute for Global Citizenship, currently under construction, will also have a card access system.

The main problem with card access is that it requires new and expensive infrastructure, which involves new wiring systems in the buildings, Gorman said. A system of four doors can cost $15,000, but as more are installed the cost can drop to $2,500 per door.

Universal card access on campus would greatly benefit security, Gorman said. If an ID card is lost, the card can be cancelled and no longer have access to buildings, while a missing key could be used to break into campus buildings. Cards are also cheaper to replace than keys.

Macalester is making progress with card access installation, and is in the same position as surrounding colleges, Gorman said.

“Other schools are piecing it [card access] together,” he said.

So continue fumbling for those keys until Macalester is a futuristic card-swiping society.