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USF ID cards used to control access to major buildings

The USF identification card will soon gain another purpose.

By the end of July, the ID card will work as a key to allow faculty, staff and students access to the Student Services, Bioscience and Physical Plant buildings. The card will be used to grant access to the buildings during after-hours and on the weekend. The cost of the project’s first phase is $750,000.

University Police Capt. J.D. Withrow said card-access buildings are being enforced for security purposes.

“It will disallow access for people to go into these buildings whenever they want,” Withrow said. “We feel it will also reduce theft on campus.”

Currently the USF card gives on-campus students access into residence halls.

The Building Access Control Project was recommended by the Task Force on Campus Safety and Security. The task force formed by USF President Judy Genshaft, was implemented after the Sept. 11 attacks to improve the safety and security on campus. Withrow said UP had a role in the task force, along with faculty, staff, students, administration and physical plant workers.

Withrow added that the project would be mainly for exterior doors of the buildings and that the system is designed to govern access for after-hours and weekends.

“This is a smart system and technology,” Withrow said. “It will be able to track people who go into the buildings and what time.”

Adrian Cuarta, director of the Physical Plant, said the access is very similar to that used in residence halls on campus, but will allow the main occupant to determine the time of opening and closing of that specific building.

“The system will lock and unlock the doors for those that have authorization after those hours,” Cuarta said.

Cuarta said the project would be implemented in two phases. The money was allocated for the project through the university’s infrastructure dollars, which include building and road enhancements.

Building supervisors and employees who work after-hours or during the weekend, will be given card access as well. The director will be able to approve those individuals online and they will be granted access.

“The USF ID has a unique identifier stripe on the back of the card so once a name is in the system, it will be looked up and the person will be given access,” Cuarta said.

Cuarta said the three buildings, Student Services, Bioscience and Physical Plant Operations, are being used as testing sites to gather input from users and to make sure the equipment works before accelerating with the plan.

“It has been a lengthy process and we want to make sure everyone using it is comfortable,” he said.

The system will also allow the UP to monitor if a door has been left open, Withrow said. If this happens an alarm will alert UP and the police are notified to take care of the problem. UP will also be notified when a door has been opened from outside and is not an entry door to be used.

“Under the current system we can’t do that,” Withrow said.

The access cards will also be site and door specific to the individuals, Withrow said.

“One person may be authorized access to the SVC but not to Cooper,” he said.

Cuarta said in time the project will include cameras at critical locations and the camera will be triggered when the card is swiped. However, though the system can identify who enters the buildings and the time, it does not know when a person leaves. Cuarta said the cameras could possibly aid in that process.

“Again it is a matter of money (to have the cameras),” he said. “But we are getting rid of human integration. The project will no longer have a person running around to unlock or lock certain doors. It is easier all around.”

For more information about the Building Card Access Project visit the Physical Plant’s Web site at