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Updated 10:00 AM September 21, 2009

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Regents approve exterior door Mcard access project

Electronic card reader access at most Ann Arbor campus buildings will be implemented after the Board of Regents approved a two-year installation project at its Sept. 17 meeting. The electronic access will enhance building security and provide campuswide efficiencies.

Richard Robben, executive director for Plant Operations, is responsible for the overall installation of the readers.

"Electronic and programmable Mcard readers remove the labor-intensive process of manually locking and unlocking doors," Robben says. "Exterior doors can be programmed to automatically lock and unlock on a regular schedule. In addition, building managers can quickly lock all entryways in the event of an emergency. This reduces time and the risk to individuals responsible for securing entryways."

Mcards will replace the metal keys that currently allow authorized individuals to enter university buildings when exterior doors are locked. Building managers will assign access privileges based on the needs of each building and cardholder.

"With electronic access control, if an Mcard is reported lost or stolen, the facility manager can quickly turn off access privileges," says Hank Baier, associate vice president for Facilities and Operations. "With traditional locks and keys, replacement of a lock results in reissuing metal keys, and that can be expensive and disruptive for everyone."

The system also enables building managers to alter the hours buildings are open to the general public, especially during holiday periods.

For example, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business remained open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. to avoid issuing keys to each of its students and faculty. As part of its new construction, the school installed Mcard readers. This enables the school to reduce the open hours, but still allows authorized students and faculty access after hours using their Mcards.

"The new system also allows for expansion to additional interior and exterior doors in the future, and it will enable us to implement, as appropriate, higher level security," Baier says.

Installation will occur at most general fund buildings on North and Central campuses. There will be minimal disruption to building access during the installation process. The project is scheduled to finish mid-2011 and is anticipated to cost $9 million, which will be funded from university investment proceeds.

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