For elevators, problems rising Students continue to play waiting game as malfunctions persist

ELEVATORSB

Forget grid lock, students on West Campus are becoming wary of a new delay: out-of-service elevators.

John Moore, director of engineering and sustainability at Oswego State, said the number one reason for elevator malfunction is vandalism from students. These acts include jumping and stomping on the floor of the elevator while en route and the students holding the elevator doors open longer than necessary.

If the passengers in the elevator exceed the weight limit of 2,000 lbs. the elevators will not run, Moore said.

"It creates a lot of extra wear and tear on the machine," he said.

In the beginning of September, Seneca Hall experienced several elevator malfunctions that may have been due to the sensors on the elevator doors, Seneca Hall director Deidrinelle Rouse said.

This year has aleady seen at least 25 students getting stuck in the elevators during a malfunction. The incident has mainly left students frightened and confused.

"I was only stuck for like five minutes, but it’s scary because you don’t know what’s going on," said biochemistry major Christyne Chmil, 19. "The door opened maybe three inches and then it just closed. We kept pressing the button but it wouldn’t open."

Chmil was going down to lunch from Seneca when the elevator broke down. It reopened a few minutes later, but she was "very skeptical the week after the incident," she said.

Matt Makowiec, 21, was stuck when an elevator jerked heavily and then the door refused to open in Onondaga hall a few weeks ago. As a technology education major, Makowiec said it’s very frustrating to see out-of-order signs on the elevator every week.

"I’m always carrying something heavy because of my classes and I can’t always go up seven flights of stairs with it all," Makowiec said.

Almost all of the residence halls have new optical sensors that reopen the doors when an object interferes with the doors closing. These are more sensitive than the optical sensors in the old elevators, which would simply close until they hit an object, such as a hand or backpack, Moore said.

With the new elevators, if someone is holding the open button in the elevator, a sensor goes off, keeping the doors open, Moore said. With the exception of two elevators in Onondaga hall, all of the elevators have these new ultra-sensitive sensors.

"If someone tries to stop the elevator [from closing] three different times, it automatically shuts down," Onondaga Hall director Casey Weaver said. "The doors will close and stay shut because the elevator thinks there’s a problem.

The new elevators give Onondaga the most problems, Weaver said, the old ones are run fine.

"The old elevators in ‘Daga almost always worked and the new ones are always breaking," Makowiec said. "It’s weird and I’m not sure I like it."

Chris Gorea, 21, is another resident who experienced an elevator malfunction. He agrees with Makowiec about the weird actions of the elevator and their instability.

"These elevators break down all the time now and they were just replaced," he said. "They don’t seem to be of any good quality."

When an elevator malfunctions, each incident is reported to University Police and the custodians call it into maintenance, Seneca’s assistant hall director Jacob Gardner said. However, the elevators are owned by a company outside of campus, so their workers come fix any maintenance problems that occur in the first year. But the growing belief has become that mechanics are not the sole issue.

"Either people are misusing them or the parts are breaking," Weaver said. "But every time mechanics are here, they say that nothing broke."

The last two elevators to be replaced will be Onondaga’s north elevators this summer. Elevators in Sheldon, Lanigan, Wilber, Hewitt and Cooper will also be start to be replaced this summer and the project will take around two years, Moore said.