Residence Services’ remodeling plan calls for key card replacements

Zoe Swartz

Kent State Residence Services spent summer 2017 updating residence halls locks and area desks, as well as replacing the old key cards with students’ FlashCards.

Dennis Gregory, the assistant director of assignments and access control with the Residence Services, said the schedule is on track.

“We’ve done 10 [halls] and we have 15 more to go,” Gregory said. “We’ll do more next summer and the summer after that, and everything is still on target to be done the summer of 2019.”  

The first leg of the remodeling consisted of area desks getting a facelift. Dunbar, which serves Centennial Courts, and New Front which consists of Prentice, Dunbar, Verder and Engleman halls, were all remodeled over the summer.

The area desk was able to expand because of the removal of mailboxes, something Gregory says was a dying feature for students.

“We have our normal satisfaction survey that we send out to students, and a large majority of them said they never checked their mailboxes,” Gregory said. “So we did a trial run, and emailed students when they got letters. The mailboxes weren’t even used last year. That gave us an opportunity to really open the desk up.”  

The other part of the plan were the over 1,800 locks changed for the new FlashCard key cards. This included the Centennial Courts and New Front, too.

Tessa Beaty, a freshman fashion design major, says she likes having just one card.

“It’s only one thing to keep track of,” Beaty said. “It sucks that if you do lose it, it’s much more detrimental, but at least it’s one less thing to carry around. So, I like it.”

While the single card has been implemented for the aforementioned halls, the other features for the new locks, mentioned in the original story on Kentwired, won’t be brought to life until all the work is completed.

“The lock has a lot of additional features that will be rolling out as we move forward,” Gregory said. “(Things) like contact where you touch instead of swipe (your card) to other things like pin numbers, but as of now, it functions like the old locks.”

With the new locks, there are now no longer deadbolts on doors. A fact that not all students are fans of.

“I don’t like it,” Omolara Longe, a sophomore studio arts major, said. “Sometimes I just want to go to the laundry room or go do something, so now I have to take my key every time. Or I have to bolt the door with the trashcan.”

However, Gregory says there were a lot of reasons for it’s removal.

“With our older locks, everybody had deadbolt override, where you could lock your roommate out, so the deadbolt didn’t really do anything,” Gregory said. “We had tens of thousands of dollars in damage from the deadbolts because people would leave it, then slam their door. That would then create cracks in the door. Not to mention we’ve had students complain it’s loud. Given it didn’t do anything and just caused damage, we did not opt for deadbolts.”

With the first leg completed, they still aren’t sure what halls and desks are next.

“I know what we’re thinking, but there are still a lot of things that are being worked out with our conferences and Destination Kent State, so we aren’t quite ready to announce what buildings are next,” Gregory said.

With everything on schedule, Gregory says he is happy to see students excited to use their FlashCards.

“Right before move-in for the Fall Semester, I was in Prentice Hall unlocking doors for the dining hall, and I saw someone coming in and it was their first time they were using their FlashCard and they were so excited,” Gregory said. “And so, just seeing that made me feel good about this.”

Temporary keys are still available for lock outs at Dunbar for Centennial Courts and New Front.

New FlashCards can be bought at the FlashCard Office in the Student Center for $25.

Zoe Swartz is the room and board reporter. Contact her at [email protected].