A Hokie P instead of a key


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 14 – Electronic Door Lock: The new keyless Hokie Passport door lock has been installed in many of the dorms. The lock has a two-step system where you scan your Hokie Passport and then enter a PIN number. Photo: Elisabeth Souther

by Elisabeth Souther–

Virginia Tech has become more innovative with the introduction of the keyless door lock installed in many of the dorms on campus. Starting in fall 2017, all the dorm rooms on campus will do away with the lock-and-key system in favor of electronic door locks.

The new lock system is part of Virginia Tech’s residential door access improvements that will cost approximately $7.7 million. The new Corps of Cadets residence hall, Pearson Hall, was the first to have this technology and many of the other dorms soon followed.

According to Virginia Tech’s Division of Student Affairs Building and Construction Report, the first phase of the electronic door access project, 4,490 total electronic locks to be installed, is complete. Ambler-Johnston, East Eggleston, Monteith, Newman, O’Shaughnessy, Pritchard and Thomas Halls still use the traditional keys, but there are plans for installation during winter break and should be completed by the end of summer 2017.

Returning students living on campus had to exchange their current Hokie Passports for new ones with smart card technology to access their dorm rooms. According to Virginia Tech Information Technology, a smart card is a plastic card about the size of a credit card, with an embedded microchip that can be loaded with data, used for telephone calling, electronic cash payments, and other applications, and then periodically refreshed for additional use.

University officials believe this technology will help provide a safer and more secure campus as the new door locks require a two-step system to open the doors.  To get into their rooms, students need to scan their Hokie Passport and then enter their individual PIN number. The Virginia Tech Housing and Residence Life created a video explaining how the door lock works.

Also, every time students leave and enter their rooms, that data will be recorded. However, that data will not be accessed unless needed.

The installation of the keyless door locks is just one of many projects that Virginia Tech has planned to create a more innovative campus for the future.