High Rise residents experienced an extra obstacle in entering their apartment building when they returned to campus this semester. Physical Plant added a second WesCard access door at the primary entrance to the building over winter break, forcing residents to swipe their cards twice to get inside.
Both the first and second doors at this entrance were upgraded to meet regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act and to improve security, according to Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for Facilities.
Numerous students expressed irritation with the fact that only one of the doors can be open at a time, which caused confusion for the first few weeks of the semester.
“It’s the worst thing ever,” said Andrew Erlagen ’10, who compared the space between the doors with a pressure lock on a space shuttle. “What’s the point of two doors for security?”
While the entry space between the doors will save energy by preventing heat from escaping the building, this was not cited as a rationale for the addition.
“I think [the change] is good for security, but I also hope that it will improve energy efficiency so that less heat will be lost,” said Anne Rosenthal ’10, a member of Environmental Organizers Network (EON).
The second door was added in response to frustration among High Rise residents over the $60 fee they were each charged last semester after a television was stolen and graffiti was painted on a wall. The fee went to replacing a stolen television and painting over graffiti in a stairwell, as well as to giving residents more privacy, according to Area Coordinator Brian Nangle.
According to several residents, however, anyone could have entered the building and committed these violations; it was unreasonable, to fine only High Rise residents, they said, especially since all Low Rise residents also had card access to the building. The new measure is meant to address those suspicions.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to distribute common area damages more fairly,” Nagler said
With the new arrangement, Low Rise residents are able to open the first door, which allows them to access the laundry room, but they cannot open the second door.
“It makes sense,” said Jace Haestad ’10. “It eliminates doubt.”
While several students expressed approval, indifference, or mild annoyance in regard to the additional door, others were more critical of the change.
“Anybody who gets past the first door could get past the second as well,” said Rebecca Kowal ’10. “I suppose it now prevents the Low Rise students from being accused of stealing anything from the Commons.”
Whitten Overby ’10 also suggested that it is still fairly easy for non-residents to enter High Rise by following residents into the building.
“People aren’t aggressive about making sure that people who come in are from High Rise,” he said.
While residents may have become accustomed to waiting for one door to close before opening the next, the addition does not seem to have been particularly successful in appeasing some of the discontented residents at High Rise.
“They should have done it before they fined us for the stolen television,” said Benny Cheng ’10.