By Jeff Murphy, August 19, 2022
When completed, the University of Central Missouri's electronic access project will make it possible to enter buldings using a key fob or cell phone.
WARRENSBURG, MO – In an effort to promote a healthy and safe community environment,
an electronic access project is underway at the University of Central Missouri to
enable faculty, staff and students to enter main campus buildings by using a key fob
or via their cell phones. Work on the project is expected to be completed in approximately
one year, although campus members may notice minor changes in door operations while
waiting for the project’s completion.
The project is made possible through federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF) that was initiated to help combat the pandemic. For UCM, this created an opportunity for the Board of Governors in April to enter a contract totaling nearly $2.7 million with Integrated Opening Solutions in Olathe, Kansas, to provide labor, materials and equipment necessary to initiate building access security upgrades and touchless entry solutions.
Mike Papasifakis, supervisor of Parking Services and Access Control for the UCM Department of Public Safety, said the project involves upgrading access to 45 buildings and 601 doors. Of these entrances, there are 181 exterior doors, 311 new interior doors, and 109 offline access locks that will be affected with improvements to make them electronically accessible. The interior upgrades include some student works spaces, student housing’s front desks, existing legacy electronic locks, rooms to secure network equipment, and mechanical systems. The exterior upgrades will require electronic access to enter most buildings on campus with some exceptions. Buildings not included are mostly located off the main campus, and include facilities such as the airport, greenhouse, Achauer House, and others. Key access will still be employed as the main method of entry.
“We are doing this project in phases,” Papsifakis said, adding that some equipment has required 20 to 25 weeks of lead time to obtain. “Phase I is basically putting in the infrastructure. We are installing wiring and the openers in doors that don’t already have them.”
Papasifakis said the new system provides UCM Access Control the ability to program access points throughout campus to allow only individuals who are authorized to enter buildings or specific areas within them. Access can be limited on a daily or even hourly basis depending on specific needs.
“The upgraded software that we are getting will also give us lockdown abilities,” Papasifakis said.
The system enables individuals to enter locked doors using their digital credentials (cell phones) or a key fob, which they obtain from Access Control in Public Safety. This is already taking place in a limited number of situations on campus. Art students, for example, use them after hours to access work areas and music students use them to gain access to practice rooms. If a fob or digital credential is lost or compromised, Access Control can immediately reprogram entrance doors to render the lost device inactive.
Papasifakis noted that while work is underway there may be a temporary adjustment period. The addition of hardware without the electronic capabilities completed still enables individuals to open doors, but they may be harder to open than usual. Individuals who encounter this issue are encouraged to contact Access Control at 660-543-4123 to make the office aware. The contractor can then be alerted to assist in making necessary adjustments.
While there may be temporary adjustments as installation of this new system continues, the anticipated benefits in terms of providing touchless access and secure entrances to university buildings will have a positive impact on campus safety and health for many years to come.