Taylor Dolven, Senior Staff Writer

Students will no longer have to carry keys starting in the 2011-2012 school year. The university will install an electronic lock system that will work with ID cards. (SAMANTHA LUDINGTON | The Miami Student)

What do breakfast, the Recreational Sports Center and a football game at Miami University all have in common?

They all require the swipe of your Miami ID card, and soon, access to rooms in residence halls may revolve around this piece of plastic too.

During summer 2011, all residence hall rooms will be outfitted with electronic door locks as part of a master housing plan, according to Larry Fink, assistant vice president of housing and auxiliaries.

Fink said this change is part of a larger housing project that will span over the next 20 years.

“This is the first of many projects that we will tackle,” Fink said.

First-year Austin Card thinks the electronic door locks will be more convenient.

“We would only have to carry around one thing,” he said.

Although the locks are not a direct response to security issues, Fink said campus security is a top priority and he is confident that safety will be improved.

Lt. Ben Spilman, a member of the Miami University Police Department, said residence hall theft cases are most commonly caused by students forgetting to lock their doors.

“These locks have a lot of potential to reduce theft inside the residence halls,” he said. “The electronic locks are a great idea.”

The new locks will run on battery power, not electricity, according to Fink, so students will be able to get into their rooms even if a power outage occurs.

Many Miami first-years are all too familiar with the pricey procedure for replacing a lost dorm room key, but the new electronic locks will eliminate this fine.

Instead of hiring a locksmith to replace entire locks, students will simply need to replace their electronic swipe card.

“A card can be replaced much more quickly,” Fink said.

Card was unaware of this fine, but said he supports any way to avoid it.

A swipe card can also be deactivated, unlike a traditional room key, Spilman said. He expects that this will tighten security.

The exact model of the lock has not been decided yet, but Fink said the point is for the doors to lock automatically.

“Keeping the doors closed is safer for everyone,” he said.

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