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Master key loss costs College more than $500,000

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January 26, 2016

7:48 AM

A lock re-core project is underway which affects all residence halls on the College of William and Mary campus, with the exception of One Tribe Place. This project follows the announcement in the fall semester from William and Mary Police Chief Deborah Cheesebro about a lost set of master keys that was never recovered. The College Facilities Management Department is coordinating the effort to ensure the safety of residents of halls affected by this key loss.

Department of Facilities Management Director of Operations and Maintenance Gregg Shipp said that the replacement of the approximately 3000 cores in residence halls, which include individual student rooms as well as exterior residence hall doors, will cost the College an estimated $399,444. To prevent a similar loss happening in the future, 20 electronically-controlled master key storage boxes are to be installed. According to Shipp, these boxes are meant to improve the management of residence hall master keys. These boxes will cost the College $162,346, which brings the total cost for the re-core project up to $561,790.

“This project only effects [sic] residence halls,” Shipp said in an email. “There are plans in progress to change some of the cores on [Education and General] facilities, but they are not yet finalized.”

In an email sent out Dec. 4, Residence Life assured hall residents that ensuring safety is a priority. “The contracted locksmiths who will be completing the re-coring are all bonded and insured and will be escorted by security personnel,” ResLife said in the email.

“The plan is to work Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. systematically through one hall at a time,” Shipp said in an email.

Additionally, all old keys and cores will be turned over to the College. Residents are expected to return their old keys in exchange for their new ones. As old keys and cores are returned, they are to be sold as surplus for use by another organization or recycled as scrap metal. They will not be disposed of in a landfill, minimizing the potential waste pollution caused by this project.

As each building is re-cored, students within that building will be notified via email. New keys will be issued to ResLife staff and to the College locksmith.

“A note is left for any room unoccupied with instructions to the student on where to retrieve their new keys,” Shipp said in an email.

The Dec. 4 email from ResLife said that the staff hoped to complete this project over the semester break to minimize disruption to residents. However, a follow up email sent Jan. 12 said that they were unable to accomplish this.

“Due to delays from the manufacturer Facilities Management was unable to complete the core changes over the winter break as anticipated,” the email said.

“We are planning to complete the Sororities on Monday and then progress through at a fairly rapid clip,” Durden said in an email.

The project is projected to extend into the spring semester and, as of yet, there is no definite date for expected completion, as the schedule is highly dependent on the external contractor.

“The plan is to work Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. systematically through one hall at a time,” Shipp said in an email.

Facilities Management hopes to minimize as much as possible the inconvenience to students. The snowstorm delayed maintenance this past Friday, but the project is expected to continue on schedule this week.

Residence Life Director of Housing Operations Chris Durden stated that lock changes have been completed in Ludwell Apartments, Reves Hall, Hunt Hall, Taliaferro Hall and Brown Hall, as well as the Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega and Chi Omega sorority houses.

“We are planning to complete the Sororities on Monday and then progress through at a fairly rapid clip,” Durden said in an email.

According to Durden, the last time a similar situation occurred on campus was in the 1989-90 academic year when he was working as an Area Director. At that time, they switched out the key system.

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