Students, staff, and faculty returning to campus after Winter Break found a new, streamlined OneCard system in place, following more than two years of planning and a semester of implementation. The OneCard project offers restyled ID cards, a freshly installed dual proximity and swipe entry system on 22 campus buildings, and a simplified system of management.
Originally undertaken to restructure and update the two existing systems in place, the OneCard project is in its final stages of implementation. Previously, the College was operating two software systems—Millenium operated the proximity card readers, while CS Gold operated the swipe readers. According to the Card Access Conversion Team, "The Millenium system was approaching the end of its useful life and required a tremendous amount of campus resources to maintain it. We wanted to be proactive and make the change before we experienced any real problems."
This team, consisting of representatives from Residential Life, Information Technology, Safety and Security, Facilities Management and the OneCard office, decided to switch entirely to the CS Gold system, used by several hundred colleges and universities. It is "a more advanced and trustworthy access system than others on the market," and has been used "reliably" for several years by the College to manage door access, meal plans and other transactions such as laundry and vending.
"The CS Gold system allows us much more flexibility on the back end for programming door access and effectively managing access. Additionally, consolidating card-related functions into one office that can assist with door access, vending, laundry and various account balance issues just makes sense," the team said.
The access conversion project has been marked with a high priority for several years. It is estimated at a cost of $280,000 in this fiscal year's budget, but the College received competitive pricing and achieved "considerable savings" for using a software system already in place.
Consolidation into the OneCard system has allowed for expanded capability and functionality, for both staff and students.
According to the team, the switch to a unified system more easily enables use for investigative purposes, though it is not used to track students on a daily base. The CS Gold software keeps records of an ID card's use, which Security can access if necessary; for example, during incidents of missing students or theft on campus.
In an article online at Security Director News, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols commented that the new OneCard system "allows us to monitor and control access to various buildings and modify privileges on an as-needed basis from our communication center."
In addition, the team pointed out that they have also "recently added the ability to make online deposits to a student's OneCard account," further enabling use across campus. They plan to spend their time smoothing out any kinks with these projects this semester.
Looking ahead, the team indicated an interest and enthusiasm to work with students and local vendors over the next academic year to explore the possibilities of using the OneCard off campus. They added that the "OneCard office continues to look for ways to improve existing services and to add features that enhance the card's functionality."