Card reader launch today gives door control to police

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Installation manager Randy Tereau of Fairway Supply Inc. changes the locks on an exterior door Tuesday on the second floor east entrance to Gonzales.  Michael Peters

Installation manager Randy Tereau of Fairway Supply Inc. changes the locks on an exterior door Tuesday on the second floor east entrance to Gonzales. Michael Peters

By Katherine Garcia

kgarcia203@alamo.edu

Starting today, all external doors of this campus are expected to be locked and unlocked through a controlled access system operated by police dispatch at district offices at 201 W. Sheridan.

Card readers have been installed at each exterior door on campus, so staff accessing the buildings after operating hours will have to use an identification card on a card reader.

Buildings will remain unlocked during office and class hours. District police Chief Don Adams said closing times may vary, but all should be closed by 10:30 p.m.

New construction and renovations in the 2005 capital improvements program were outfitted with card readers. The renovated chemistry and geology building reopened in fall 2010 with card readers also on internal doors, but because employees were constantly required to open classroom and lab doors for students, magnets were placed on the striking plates to prevent them from locking.

Geography Professor Dean Lambert said they have been waiting three years for the problem to be resolved. He also said the readers don’t work when there is a power outage.

Adams said while the dispatch office controls access, David Mrizek, vice president of college services, authorizes opening and closing times. “Any requests for opening and closings have to go through and be approved by Mr. Mrizek’s office,” Adams said.

Mrizek was unavailable for comment because he is out of town through Saturday.

Bill Boyd, security technician for Fairway Supply, working to install a card reader Wednesday explained the control district police will have. “They can lock it down, unlock it at night, just by the click of a computer key,” Boyd said. “If there’s a shooter on campus, they can lock campus down.”

In the event of a lost key card, the dispatch office should be notified so the card can be deactivated, Adams said.

Mechanical locks were replaced during card reader installation, requiring new keys. Replacements may be necessary for emergency situations, such as, Boyd said, during a power outage.

Palo Alto, Northwest Vista and Northeast Lakeview colleges and University Center on Pat Booker Road have external card readers. St. Philip’s College remains to be equipped. John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities, said the districtwide project cost $3 million.

Employees can apply for an ID card at http://www.alamo.edu/district/police/forms/ and notifying the department head, who will forward the request to Mrizek. Students are not eligible for cards, Adams said.

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