Elevator Problems

Two students found themselves trapped inside the library’s central elevator on Nov 23. This is the second time the elevator malfunctioned in November.

One of the students, Erica Traub, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, said the elevator door opened half way when it reached the first floor. It promptly closed and the elevator continued to move between floors while they were inside.

“The door wouldn’t open after that,” Traub said.

They called the university police through the emergency phone system.

“We had to get the engineers out there,” said Sergeant Brehmer, who responded to the call. “First thing we did was turn off the power (to the elevator). I was holding the door partly open, which locks it (the elevator) onto whatever floor you’re on.”

The engineers were able to get the doors open from there. They could not be reached for comment but Brehmer said they put in a service request for the elevator.

Traub said it took about 10 minutes for the team to get them out.

“The phone worked, the alarm worked. So that was fine. They had all that sorted out,” Traub said. “That was the important thing. It could be a little clearer — what to do in there in case there’s an emergency.”

An almost identical incident occurred on Nov. 12, in the same elevator, in which a campus police officer retrieved two students after prying the elevator doors open with his hands.

“We’ve been keeping everything running okay,” said David Rubin, business manager for facilities management.

He said that maintenance contracts have not been cut despite decreased funding over the years and the current lack of state appropriations.

“As there continue to be further cuts from the state we’re going to have to be more creative about how to obtain funding because eventually the money is going to run out,” Rubin said. “A major expense we’re going to accrue is in BBH (Bernard J. Brommel Hall). One of those elevators does need to be replaced. The VP of finance and administration is going to have to assist with that funding.”

Rubin said that the plans are set to start the replacement of the BBH elevator this year.

Mike Hines, director of public relations, sent an email to the Independent regarding both incidents.

“We regret any time our elevators malfunction and inconvenience to our students, faculty or staff,” Hines said in the Nov. 23 email. “Elevators are major machinery, and they will experience problems from time to time. Thankfully this is a rare occurrence and we well work hard to address any problems as they arise.”