ORL plans for summer lock test
By Sarah Betts, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Thursday, May 9, 2002
A door-lock system for College residence halls based on coded ID cards -- in the works since the winter of 2001 -- might finally debut in a test run over the Summer term.
If plans are approved, the lock system will be activated in residences occupied by students over the Summer term, including the River apartments, Gold Coast residence halls and Massachusetts Row residence halls.
A 12-person committee -- composed of staff members from various College departments -- will decide in the upcoming weeks whether or not to recommend the summer testing of the door-lock system.
"The intention right now is to test it in the summer, but if things aren't done in time, we won't be able to," Director of Residential Operations Woody Eckels said.
The test of the system would begin four or five days into Summer term and would aim to identify any problems with the system before its full implementation in the fall.
Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman said that the Office of Residential Life plans to use the residence halls with smaller student occupancy "to see if there are bugs with the system."
Students living in the Gold Coast, Massachusetts Row and the River apartments would receive new student ID cards coded with identification numbers for the locks when they pick up their room key. Known as proximity cards, a lock system reads the card when it is placed within a certain distance from the reader.
"It does not swipe -- you just have to get close enough to the lock for it to read the card," Redman said. "You might not even have to take it out of your wallet or backpack."
Redman said that the new cards will be the same size as the old ID cards, and there will be no noticeable difference in weight. "They are the same except that they have metal inside coded to open the door," he noted
The new cards will cost the College approximately $5 to $6 each, Eckels said.
How the new cards will be distributed, however, is not yet certain. If the plan proceeds on schedule, returning students will be able to pick up new cards produced over the summer, as the Dartmouth Card holds digital pictures of all students on file.
Distributing identification cards for freshmen, however, will present complications.
According to Redman, incoming freshmen would have their photographs taken with their Dartmouth Outing Club freshman trip groups and could then pick up their ID cards during orientation week.
However, such a process would be troublesome for those not participating in DOC trips, and for those on DOC trips departing later in the orientation schedule.
To address this, '06s may be able to use temporary ID cards -- issued without a photo -- during orientation and move-in periods, or the College may simply leave dorms unlocked for the duration of the period.
"There is nothing more frustrating than trying to move into your dorm and having the door lock behind you," Eckels said.
The door-lock system would also be turned off in dorms used for summer conferences and camps hosted by the College.
"We have contracts with these people, and the contracts didn't say that the dorms would be locked," Redman said.