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Lost master keys prove to be $500,000 gaffe

It goes without saying that master keys for campus residence halls are valuable, but a set of misplaced master keys at the College of William and Mary has led to a hard lesson learned. The college is now replacing dorm room and exterior locks across its Williamsburg, Virginia campus as part of a project that will cost in excess of $500,000.

Per a report from The Flat Hat, the re-coring project is currently underway and affects all but one of the residence halls on William and Mary’s campus. The project follows an announcement made in the fall semester by William and Mary Police that a set of master keys had been lost and was never recovered.

William and Mary’s Department of Facilities Management is spearheading the project, which includes the replacement of the approximately 3,000 lock sets ranging from individual student dorm rooms to exterior residence hall doors. The re-coring alone will cost an estimated $399,444. As a preventative measure, 20 electronically controlled master key storage boxes will also be installed. The boxes are meant to improve the management of residence hall master keys and will cost an added $162,346. In total, the lock project is expected to reach $561,790.

College officials insist that the safety of students remains the priority throughout the re-coring project, and that the locksmiths contracted by William and Mary are all bonded and insured and will be escorted by security personnel while replacing the lock sets. Work is expected to be systematically carried out Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. systematically one residence hall at a time until the project is completed.

As part of the re-coring, all old keys and lock cores will be turned over to the William and Mary, while student residents are expected to return their old keys in exchange for their new ones. The old keys and cores will not be re-used by the college but are likely to be sold as surplus, at which point they could be repurposed by another organization or simply recycled for scrap metal.

Student residents will be notified via email when it comes time for their residence hall and dorm room locks to be replaced. The initial plan was to carry out the re-coring over the winter break so as to avoid disruptions to student residents, but delays from the college’s chosen manufacturer pushed the project start date back to the spring semester.

William and Mary’s Residence Life says that lock changes have already been completed in five campus residence halls, as well as three sorority houses. Lock replacements are ongoing, but the college is yet to set a definite completion date.

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