Q&A: The Job of a University Locksmith

Ledger technical editor Jerry Levine recently sat down with a lock shop supervisor for a major university. Topics of discussion included the duties of an institutional locksmith, hardware choices and future trends towards more electronic door hardware...


Do you have restricted or patented keyways?

Yes. We have Medeco old, middle and new (M3). We have Schlage Everest/Primus, ASSA, Corbin Russwin and Kaba. Our goal is to standardize on one type of hardware and keyway per existing building.

What brands of electromechanical lock hardware do you use?

Omnilock, Schlage AD and Kaba E-Plex.

Side Note: To maintain consistency and simplicity, the University decided to specify wire colors for every electronic lock component. Specific wire bundles are combined to make one larger access cable. For example, blue is always connected to the REX, no matter what building. The white bundle is the door contact. The orange bundle is for the card reader, and the gray bundle contains the wires for the lock. This ensures that there will not be wiring problems as each color is used for a specific function.

Are you transitioning from mechanical to electromechanical door locks?

Yes. We are transitioning in classrooms, laboratories, and exterior doors of all of the buildings. We install hardwired electromechanical door locks as well as standalone battery operated units.

Do you see every door in the university being equipped with electromechanical locks?

No. At this point in time, cost is a significant factor.

Where do you feel electromechanical security is most necessary?

Exterior doors and areas where there is a high turnover rate or high security/audit trail requirements.

What types of credentials do you use?

Dual credential cards that can be used not only for access, but to make purchases. We program the locks to use these university cards.

What agencies are you in contact with?

Fire department

Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development

Building permits

And additional State offices

Do you enjoy your job? Would you recommend it to others?

I truly love my job. I have a lot of fun here, and would not trade it for any other job! Well, maybe a lottery millionaire.

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