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FAQs about Physical Access Controls

(or, what you need to know about keys)

What are Physical Access Controls?

Physical Access Controls are the doors, locks and keys that provide – or deny – physical access by individuals to campus facilities.  Those locks and keys may be mechanical (made out of metal) or electronic (having electronic components that supplement the mechanical parts).

Is my campus on a master key system?

Yes, each campus has a master key system.  Every door, lock, gate, padlock, furniture lock and casework lock is master keyed.  The master key system promotes safety and security, as well as operational efficiency. 

What are e-keys?

As part of our efforts to provide a safe and secure teaching, learning and working environment, electronic access controls supplement the mechanical key system. Instead of using a traditional key, doors that have been outfitted with electronic access controls require an electronic key (e-key) to gain access. In a few rare instances, an e-key is not necessary but a code must be entered on the keypad to gain entry.

E-keys are electronic keys. They take the form of either a card or a fob.  To learn more about our electronic access controls system, visit our FAQ about Electronic Access Controls. 


Card Key

Key Fob

How do I get a key(s)?

Keys are issued following a prescribed request and approval process. Please complete a Key Request Form and submit it to the Facilities Office at your campus. Print the form and fill it out, noting whether you want a fob or a card. It is your choice whether you get a card or a fob. Instructions for submitting the request and getting the card or fob are on page two of the form. Please be sure the form has the required signatures – incomplete requests will delay distribution. You can find the Key Request Form on the Facilities web site here

What if I lose my key(s)?

If you misplace a key, please notify your Facilities Office and Security Office immediately. The safety and security of the College relies upon its keyholders to maintain the integrity of the system!  If the key you lost is an e-key, your old e-key will be deactivated in order to maintain safety and security, and a new e-key can be issued to you to replace the lost or stolen e-key.  If the key you lost is a traditional mechanical key, your Facilities Manager will assess whether the key was important enough in the master key hierarchy to warrant rekeying of any locks on campus.  Costs for replacement of lost or stolen keys and re-keying of locks may be charged to the employee or the Division in which the employee works.


Facilities Planning & Operations
Phone: (650) 574-6512
Fax: (650) 574-6574

San Mateo County Community College District
3401 CSM Drive
San Mateo CA 94402


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