GWorlds to replace room keys

Students will soon use GWorlds to unlock their residence hall rooms, with several buildings ditching keys as early as this summer to curtail theft.

The electronic locks will be added over the next three years but the University will request funds in next year’s budget for installations in buildings including Ivory Tower this summer. Next year’s budget, which lays out funds for all campus renovations, goes before the Board of Trustees in May.

“We believe that these locks provide a convenience to building residents, assist in keeping doors locked when rooms are uninhabited, and assist the University in managing its key inventory,” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard wrote in an email.

Students would tap their GWorld cards onto their door handles to get into their rooms, which would lock automatically.

University Police Chief Kevin Hay’s announcement of the plans for electronic locks comes after a string of burglaries over the past two weeks in Ivory Tower, Fulbright and JBKO. At least 10 electronics

, including laptops and iPads, were stolen from unlocked rooms.

Lafayette Hall was equipped with the locks as part of a $9.8 million renovation in 2011, and Munson Hall added the locks after a $2.8 million renovation last year. The University’s capital and operating budget does not provide a breakdown of specific costs. Sherrard said “it’s difficult to provide a specific cost” because of varying prices of locks in each building.

Hay said the locks in Lafayette and Munson halls have helped decrease thefts in both buildings.

The only other building on campus with automated locks is City Hall, which is a former hotel and uses a separate key card system.

The locks will also be added to the $130 million “superdorm” set to replace the Crawford Hall, The Schenley and The West End. Crews will begin construction on the hall this summer.

The University of Virginia and Villanova University use the same technology made by Schlage, according to the manufacturer’s website.

After the crime streak in the past month, UPD put up posters on residence halls, telling students not to allow others to follow them into buildings without a GWorld and to remember to lock their doors.

“Most thefts occur in rooms that have been left unlocked and forced entry into residence hall rooms is rare,” Hay said. “Whether it’s a traditional manual door lock or a newer electronic lock, thefts and burglaries decline considerably when individual room locks are engaged.”

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