MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Thanks to prompting from students like West Virginia University School of Pharmacy student Katelyn Pontore, the administration at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center has enhanced building security.

Pontore, who is the chair of the HSC Student Advisory Board, raised concerns about security during the group’s quarterly meetings with Chancellor Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H.

“Most students spend the majority of their day at the Health Sciences Center and study late into the night,” Pontore said. “We felt there was a need for enhanced security to help HSC students feel safe.”

One of the first changes was a more visible and accessible University Police presence in the HSC. Police officers began parking their cruisers in front of the building, and their office was relocated to the Pylons area.

Beginning Monday, March 25, all HSC students, faculty and staff will be required to swipe their Mountaineer Cards or WVU Affiliate cards through readers when entering the building during evening hours and on weekends.

The following HSC entrances will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday: The basement tunnel connecting the HSC and Ruby Memorial Hospital also will eventually have a restricted access entrance – open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and accessible by card reader during off hours.

For an illustration of the listed entrances, view the map at www.hsc.wvu.edu/insideview/MediaLibraries/InsideView/Media/Documents/HSC-MAP_cardaccess.pdf. Some other doors will have card reader access, while the remaining doors will be used for exit only.

Students and staff who discover their cards do not work in HSC card readers should contact Cathy Patterson at 304-293-6924. All other student requests concerning lost or replacement Mountaineer Cards must continue to go through the Card Services offices at Bennett Tower or the Mountainlair.

Pontore stressed that the enhanced security measures are meant to provide a safe learning environment, not to create a burden for students.

“I think it’s definitely been a positive move, especially because it was such a strong student concern,” she said. “There will be a little bit of transition, but it should make us, as students, feel good. Students still have access to everything they need; they just have to swipe their cards.”

In the near future, HSC crews will be installing security cameras and panic buttons at strategic locations throughout the building.

“These measures are being taken to restrict the access of unauthorized persons into the HSC and to protect people and property,” Fred R. Butcher, Ph.D., HSC vice president for planning and operations, said. “This is an ongoing concern, and HSC administration is aware that security measures will need to evolve to meet the needs of students, patients and employees.”

People with building security concerns should contact University Police or the Chancellor’s Office. Pontore also welcomes students’ suggestions, and she can be reached at kpontore@sole.wvu.edu or 814-460-8493.
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For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
ah: 03-19-13