Student housing to add keycard access

Natalie Alatriste/Contributing writer

University housing wants to become more high-tech and secure for students, and the key to the solution rests in the FIU Onecard.

The Department of Student Housing created an initiative to implement keycard access to all housing buildings, and used Parkview Hall as a test trial this past Spring semester. The trial period was only for that semester.

The pilot was a success.

Nahshon Rollins, a junior majoring in sociology, has lived on campus for two years and resided in Parkview Hall during the trial period. He said the keycard system was a life-saver.

“I’ve lost my physical key plenty of times so I know it’s a hassle to deal with it,” he said. “[the keycard] is a great way to access your room.”

Based on its successful performance, the department of housing chose to continue the project and plans to add keycard access as a feature to all on-campus housing by January 2015. There will be a total of 34 card readers.

John Tallon, assistant director of housing facilities, said the project was designed so students can use their current FIU OneCard. This will make it more convenient for students to have the necessary access to his or her room, as well as access to other features, such as the laundry rooms.

The biggest hurdle in this project, according to Tallon, was finding the right software that would be compatible with the FIU OneCard.

“We’re piggybacking off of an existing system, which is the OneCard. The Business Services office, which runs the OneCard, has really helped us get this set up,” Tallon said.

The office of business services helped the housing department with the the manual processing of getting the 600 Parkview residents into the system for the test run.

Now that the system will be implemented in all other dorms, the housing department has to attend seminars to understand the programming to avoid manually inputting every single student living on campus.

The card readers won’t be up and running until this phase of the implementation is completed.

The card readers will be applied mainly for security purposes, Tallon said.

“We have thousands of students living on campus and everyone has a physical key to their room. When you have thousands of people, keys do get lost,” he said.

With the physical keys, housing has to change the locks of the room, which can be time-consuming and costly.

“It’s not logical for us to change the locks of the room every time someone loses a key,” said Tallon.

Once inputted, the Student Housing Department will have real-time access to turn the accessibility of a keycard on and off.

With this system, the department will now have access to every record of when the card was swiped into a building.

There is also an emergency shutdown feature for all the buildings. If a building needs to be securely locked for an emergency, the Department of Housing has the ability to do so with the click of a button.

This may also be done to open or close any single door, simply by using a mobile device.

“I think it’s going to be more convenient,” Nahshon Rollins said. “It will really help the students out a lot.”

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