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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Summer Wildcat
August 26, 1997

New CatCard may already be obsolete

The UA's new student identification card, whose distribution began this summer, may already be obsolete.

The University of Arizona Card Office is examining the possibility of expanding the capabilities of the new CatCard, requiring all current holders to obtain a new card.

CatCard project manager Elizabeth Taylor said the new card would not only have a different look than the current CatCard, but it would also have the ability to provide new services.

The new card would have only one magnetic strip instead of two and a microprocessor chip.

Taylor said creation of the new card is set for this spring and would require re-carding the entire student body.

"We will add new features to the card beginning in January, I just don't know which ones will take priority (at this time)," Taylor said.

Jean Johnson, associate controller for student services in the Bursar's Office, said the card's uses will change over time.

"It (the CatCard) will grow as need is seen. We want the card to develop as the needs of business develop," Johnson said.

Taylor said the plan will be a three-to-five year process.

Taylor said future services will eventually eliminate the use of keys to access campus buildings and allow entrance to athletic games without a ticket.

"We want a card smart enough to know that you are in the right room," Johnson said.

Taylor said the Card Office will not be issuing new cards to returning students without a valid reason, such as the card is not functioning properly.

Those students who do need a new card will not be charged the $5 replacement fee, provided they turn in their old card.

While the CatCard Office project team is excited about the new card and its expansion, not all students are as enthusiastic.

"I think that it is a really big hassle," said Jenny Bachmann, financing and accounting freshman.

Spanish senior Liz Harmon agreed with Bachmann.

"It sounds good for the future, but I think that it will be a rough transition if it is not organized," she said.

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