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10 Years Ago

History is happening all the time. In the first column, we looked back more than a century; now we look back a mere ten years. The two events still have something in common: none of today’s students were on campus for either event. Well, a few were…

from The Bridge, vol. XXXVIII, no. 1; October 3, 2007; p. 1. 

Key Card System Up and Running

     On Sunday, September 16 the School activated its new electronic access system. The doors to every dorm are now locked at all times in an attempt to keep strangers out of the school's buildings. Students can open these new locks with a computer chip on the back of their student ID card. Girls have been granted full access to all girls' dorms and boys to all boys' dorms.

     The system was installed over the summer but was not activated immediately because the system "was brand new in every sense of the word," explained Paul Bartlett, Chief of Campus Safety at NMH.

     After comparing bids from several companies, the School chose a system by Ingersoll Rand. The system has both a “good price and good background.” Using an established company was important to the school because, as Bartlett asked, “Who knows where some of the other companies will be in 15 years when we are still using this system?” While other more expensive systems were considered, Bartlett explained that these would simply be more than the community needed, mentioning such high tech options as systems that can scan fingerprints. 

     Bartlett says he has been pushing for this type of increased security since he began working at NMH in October in 2000. His goal for the safety department is to focus less on property and more on people at NMH who are, as he sys “the school’s biggest asset.”
Although there have not been any serious incidents involving intruders, there have been minor incidents, such as when an intruder entered a room in C5 last year. Bartlett said, “We’ve just been lucky so far. It’s a good thing we’re moving foreword with this before we have a major incident.” Bartlett does recognize that no system, including this one, is foolproof, but he believes that this system increases the safety of dorms exponentially. 

     Many students are unenthusiastic about the new system, saying it is an unnecessary measure and they often find themselves locked out of their dorms. A junior in Shea said the new security system, “definitely makes the dorm more secure, but it’s a pain when I forget my card.” 

     Franklin Redner ’09 says that he already felt safe around the campus and that the new system “is just another hassle.” Another downside to the system is the increased cost for lost ID cards. With the price of the computer chip (15$) added on, a new ID card will now cost around $40.

     Becca Leslie, biology teacher and faculty member in Shea, weighed in on the new system saying, “Good or bad? Hard to say. A pain in the butt, but perhaps worth it to provide a feeling of security to all.”
     The security office is still working on improving the key card system. By next year they hope to have a computer chip integrated into the ID card so there will be no problems with the adhesive wearing down and the chip falling off. The school is also looking into the cost of installing phones on the outside of dorms, so parents and other visitors can call to be let in.

     Currently, the school is receiving quotes for installing a similar electronic access system on the exterior doors of the other main buildings on campus. The security department is interested in staying with the Ingersoll Rand system for simplicity’s sake. A system like this could possibly be installed by next summer. Additionally, the security department may start production of an “all-in-one” card for both dormitories and main campus buildings starting next year.