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Key & Building Security Guidelines


This document defines the guidelines that govern key and electronic access control at North Idaho College properties.  In an educational institution there is a need to balance the accessibility and use of facilities with the need to provide a safe and secure environment. Convenience must sometimes be compromised in order to maintain security. Each college community member must share in the responsibility to assure security for all members and property.  The campus Security department is responsible for implementing the Key Control Procedures.

North Idaho College shall maintain a locking system for the protection of its community members, facilities, property, and information. Maintaining accurate, effective access control for exterior and interior doors with mechanical keys is critical to protecting personnel and property.


All locks, keys, electronic access cards and access codes are the sole property of North Idaho College and will be issued to employees, students and designated others based on their need for access.  North Idaho College will issue the lowest tier of key that will be effective for the type of access that is needed for any given application.  The college reserves the right to change locks, keys, and access codes as needed.

The hierarchy of the key structure on the North Idaho College campus is as follows: Great Grand Master (GGM), Grand Master (GM), Master (M), Sub-Master (SM) and Change (C). These tiers assure that effective keys are issued while remaining cost effective.

These key guidelines are in place to:

  • Ensure that individuals requesting keys actually are authorized to do so
  • Ensure an individual(s) requesting key(s) are receiving the correct tier of key
  • Ensure the lowest tier of key that is effective is provided to the requestor
  • Ensure a process of accountability for the return of keys
  • Resolve problems resulting from a lack of key control
  • Ensure accountability when departments have a key control breach
  • Ensure compliance of Federal, State or other agencies guidelines

Key control is necessary for all keys. However, master level keys (Great Grand Master, Grand Master, and Master keys) are the focus of the partnership between the Security Department, Key Shop, and users of keys.

The guidelines are applicable to current and future college sites under the operational jurisdiction of North Idaho College Security and the Physical Plant Key Shop.


  • Change Key level: The lowest level of key in a keying system. Change keys open only individual doors.
  • Keys above the change key level: Keys that open a group of doors.
  • Director: The person in charge of a particular department who has ultimate responsibility for that department, i.e., VP, chair, dean, department head.

 Access Control on the college campus is divided into three categories:

  • Non-Restricted Keyways
  • High Security Keyways
  • Card Access

Access Control  

Standard hours of operation for most campus buildings, classrooms and offices are from 6:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Friday.  Security must be notified if faculty or staffs need to be in the buildings after closing time if they do not possess an issued key or card access.

Security oversees all access control for the campus.  Security along with the Key Shop is responsible for recording the issuance and return of keys, and for procedure compliance for all key holders.  Records of keys will be maintained by Security and the Maintenance Key Shop, and will only be accessible by them or their appointed designees.  Electronic card access records will be maintained by Security and the Cardinal Card Office.

The Residence Hall will be locked twenty-four hours a day, except when residents are moving in or out of the facility.  All residential building card access must be authorized by the Manager of Residence Life.  All other facilities will be locked whenever possible, depending on use and scheduling

No one may place a lock on a college facility, interior or exterior, or transfer their keys to another person without the express permission of the Security Supervisor, or their designees.

All keys must be returned to North Idaho College upon termination of employment or enrollment. All electronic card accesses must be removed upon termination of employment or enrollment or when no longer required to complete assigned duties.


Directors and Division Chairs of North Idaho College are responsible for the full implementation of these guidelines within their respective areas.  All access control and key records are subject to audit by the Security department at any time.

  1. The Security Supervisor is appointed the Access Control Manager, and has been designated as the overall authority and delegated the responsibility for key control implementation, procedure and internal audits of key control.
  1. The Physical Plant Manager and Security work together to provide mechanical and electronic access to college facilities.
  1. The Physical Plant Maintenance department and Key Shop will maintain oversight and maintenance and repair of all physical lock systems including electronic card access.
  1. The Physical Plant Manager and Key Shop are responsible for creating a mechanical keying system that ensures security to departments occupying buildings or facilities and for coordinating new systems.
  1. The Supervisor of the Cardinal Card Office in collaboration with Security will oversee the making and issuing of electronic access cards, and distribution of mechanical keys.

Issuance of Keys

Keys will only be issued to members of the North Idaho College community.  Anyone receiving keys or card access must be faculty, staff, students if required for job performance, and law enforcement for campus safety. Exceptions are at the approval of the Security Supervisor only. Employees will be issued keys based upon their need for access.  All keys must be received in person and the appropriate paperwork signed by the recipient.

  1. Key/Access request procedure is as follows:

    1. The NIC Key/Access Request can be located on the NIC portal, Applications Tab, Building Access Form. This form can be accessed by department administrators as well as Division Chair’s – Director’s. Key requests should only be submitted when the key requirement is necessary for the performance of duties.

    2. The appropriate Chair - Director must provide electronic approval authorization on each key or access request.

    3. The Security Supervisor or his/her designee must authorize all key - access request.

    4. The requestor must read and electronically acknowledge the Key Request form prior to submission.

    5. The completed electronic request will be submitted to the Cardinal Card Office.  For mechanical keys, the request will be approved by Security and then sent to the Maintenance Key Shop to be processed.

    6. Key requests received by Friday will be made the following Monday and delivered to the Cardinal Card Office no later than noon Wednesday morning.

    7. All keys must be received in person.  The key recipient must report to the Cardinal Card Office, show a picture ID, possess a current Cardinal Card and sign for the keys requested.

    8. Electronic card accesses will be approved and implemented by Security.

    9. With the installment of card access readers on campus facilities, exterior door entry requests will be approved for electronic card access only, no key issue unless approved by security.

  2. Requests for Residence Hall student room keys or electronic access cards shall be made by the Manager of Residence Life or designee on a key request form. Requests for Children’s Center employee or parent access will be approved by the Children’s Center Director.

  3. Contractors - Construction projects or repairs of campus facilities which require the issuance of a key to a contractor must be approved by the Manager of Physical Plant, or their designee.  Prior to receiving keys, a release must be signed by the contractor agreeing to deduct funds from their fee if a key is lost, forcing doors to be rekeyed.  Each contractor will also be required to sign for keys prior to their being issued.  Additionally, keys shall be returned as soon as the work is completed or the contractor leaves campus.

  4. Students may be issued keys or card access for reasons of employment, class or study projects, or for the purpose of performing the functions of a student organization or providing a service to the college.  Advisors or Directors will issue the keys to students, and are responsible for maintaining key control for keys issued by them to students.

  5. Keys above the change key level cannot be signed out to students, faculty, or staff, unless authorized by security.

  6. Adjunct faculty will be issued office keys or electronic access only.

  7. Extra keys will not be issued to faculty or staff.

  8. The Supervisor of Security and Physical Plant Manager will review all requests for keys above the change key level. Overall campus security shall be the primary consideration in making the decision to grant a request for keys above the change key level. The following questions will also be considered:

    1. Is it physically possible to make the requested key within the NIC keying system?

    2. Can the access needs of the requesting party be accommodated, and security better served, by issuing a change key (or keys) instead of a key above the change key level?

    3. Do the reasons supporting the request adequately justify the security loss caused by the issuing of a key above the change key level?

 Accessing Buildings without Keys, Card, or Code  

  1. Security must be notified when any employee needs to enter a locked campus building or office for work duties after lock-up, and is without their key, card, or code. Employees must be prepared to identify themselves to Security for the requested access. Security will determine whether the access will be allowed.

  2. Access to high security areas will require prior written permission from the Director of the appropriate department.

Accessing Buildings after Closing

  1. The hours after lock-up when students may have access to a building will be determined by the necessity to keep unused areas of the building from being accessed. The building or department director will consult with the Supervisor of Security to set after lock-up hour designations.

  2. Students requesting access to a building after lock-up must be listed on a pre-approved access list at security. The student must show a current NIC I.D. card.  A faculty or staff member responsible for that area must forward updated lists to Security at the beginning of the semester.

Loaning of Keys or NIC ID Cards

  1. College employees and students shall not transfer issued keys, access cards, or access codes.

  2. Anyone found in possession of another’s keys or access card shall have them immediately confiscated by Security.

  3. Return of the keys or card to the owner will be at the discretion of Security.

  4. Individuals violating the guidelines on the loaning of keys will be subject to disciplinary action.

Lost or Stolen Keys or ID Cards – North Idaho College Employees

  1. All lost, stolen or missing keys/access cards must be reported immediately to Security. Lost, missing or stolen NIC ID cards must be de-activated.

  2. Requests to replace lost or stolen keys or access cards must conform to the requirements listed under "Issuance of Keys".

  3. Financial Responsibility: Based on the factors involved, the Security Supervisor will consult with the Physical Plant Manager, and make a decision to replace the keys or have the locks re-keyed.
    • All re-keying charges must be paid by the department or company that lost the key(s). 
    • Re-keying charges shall be determined based on the number of locks operated/affected by the loss of the key(s).
    • If an individual has two or more separate incidents of lost, stolen or non-returned key violations, key privileges may be revoked.

Lost Keys or Access Cards - Non-College Personnel

  1. Non-college personnel, (outside contractors, vendors) who lose keys or access cards they have signed out, shall assume the cost of replacement keys and the cost of any re-keying required as a result of the loss.

Return of Keys

  1. At the end of their employment with the college, all employees must return their NIC issued keys to the Card Office with a completed key return form. The keys must then be returned to the Physical Plant Key Shop.

  2. The name of the person(s) to whom the keys were issued must be supplied in writing to the Card Office when keys are returned. The department director or administrative assistant must also advise Human Resources, via e-mail or other written form that the keys were returned, specifying the date and the name of the employee.

  3. Office keys issued to Adjunct Faculty may be retained by their department past the end of their employment date if they are scheduled to be re-employed during the following semester. Building keys must be returned to the department director or administrative assistant. The keys should then be returned to the Card Office for safekeeping during periods when the faculty member is off contract or will not be returning to NIC.

  4. Students will return Residence Hall keys to the Manager of Residence Life prior to their moving out of Residence Hall. Replacement costs for keys not returned will be charged to the student's account. If a student leaves prior to the end of the semester and their key is not returned, they will be charged for the lock change.

Code (combination) Locking Devices

  1. The codes on mechanical and electronic code locks shall be changed only by NIC Security or assigned staff member.

  2. Bypass keys for mechanical and electronic code locks shall only be available to Maintenance personnel and Security.

  3. The department director in charge of an area using code locks must request regular code changes for locks by submitting an online Work Order to Facilities. 

  4. The Department Director should request a code change if any of the following conditions arise:

    1. The current code is lost or compromised.
    2. An employee who knows a code, and transfers, leaves her/his employment at NIC, or moves to a different room/area.
    3. One academic year has passed since the last code change.

  5. The Key Shop will maintain a record of code change dates.

Records Management

  1. Security in conjunction with the Key Shop shall maintain a database containing records of all keys and codes issued for NIC facilities, and will also maintain all records of key requests.

  2. Security shall also maintain a record of access cards and card access codes distributed for all NIC facilities.

  3. The Office of Residence Life shall maintain a record of access cards, access codes, and keys distributed for NIC Residence Hall facilities.

Maintenance of Locking Systems

  1. Maintenance and installation of key and combination locking systems is the responsibility of the Physical Plant Maintenance Department.  Requests for repair or replacement of locks should be made by submitting an online Work Order to the Maintenance Office.  Resident students must make requests for lock repair to the Director of Residence Life, who will then submit a Work Order to the Maintenance Office.

  2. Emergency repair requests must be made by phone to the Maintenance Office, (769-3413) between the hours of 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM, and to Security, (769-3310) during other hours.

  3. Maintenance of the electronic hardware and software of the card access system is the responsibility of Maintenance and IT. Requests for repair should be made to them by phone.  Requests for replacement of access cards for residence facilities should be made to the Manager of Residence Life.

Physical Security Compliance

  1. No person may ignore bypass, circumvent, damage, interfere with, or attempt to deceive by fraudulent means, any college authorized security measure or monitoring device, whether temporary or permanent, that is intended to prevent or limit access to or enhance the security of college lands, events, facilities or portions thereof.

  2. No person may duplicate, falsify or fraudulently obtain a college key or access control device or make any unauthorized attempt to accomplish the same. No person who is authorized to possess a college key or access control device may transfer a college key or access control device to an unauthorized person, nor may any unauthorized person be in possession of a college key or access control device.

  3. Any college key or access control device in the possession of an unauthorized person may be confiscated by Security or any authorized college official.

Review:  These procedures/guidelines will be subject to annual review.