York College’s ongoing elevator and escalator issues are taking a great toll on the college community. This is especially impacting those with a disability or have occasional difficulties getting around the school. In about the last 30 days or so, there have been over 10 email notices by the public safety department regarding the elevator and escalators. One week the email would say that an elevator is out of service and then the next week it would say it is back in service. This is the pattern every week. Most of the emails pertain to one elevator in particular, elevator number six, which is located in the F-corridor of the Academic Core Building. The email also gives information on the freight elevator as an alternative.
One Student’s Experience…
To most students who do not regularly check their student emails, these notices do not serve as much purpose. However to students with a disability like Valerie Mejia, these emails can help her plan ahead. Because the elevators are constantly out of service, 20-year-old sophomore and psychology major Mejia, had to miss some classes. She sometimes comes to school and spends the entire day on campus but miss class because she had no way to get upstairs. She often dreads the semesters because the elevators are always breaking down, leaving her with no alternative.
“The semesters that I have class on the fourth floor, it is really hard. There is only one elevator that goes up there and sometimes even the freight elevator gets broken,” said Mejia. “So there is no way for me to go up there and then I have to miss my class.”
Previous Story, Same Issue.
The elevators and escalators breaking down is a reoccurring problem. Back in 2015, Pandora’s Box published an article by Valerie Victor when the escalator use was temporary suspended. During that period escalators were barricaded and some were even taped to keep students from using them. This was due to safety reasons, as the Executive Director of facilities James Minto said in the article. “The escalators need an enhanced safety upgrade; all of them.”
This is a fact that cannot be argued since the elevators and escalators are long overdue for an upgrade at over 30-years-old. According to York College Repair Update page, the current maintenance practices include routine checkups and turning the escalators off after the last class, and back on in the morning. However, keeping up with this routine has been getting more difficult to deal with.
Another Student’s Struggle.
Students such as Nicole West a lower junior, sociology major went as far as complaining to President Keizs, about the escalators lack of function. The Queens Village resident said that the escalators have been broken for too long. It affects her the most, on days she is not feeling too well or has knee pains.
“The problem is, if you know you are out of compliance, you’re supposed to find someone to come in and fix it. It has not been fixed,” said West. “My old a$$ is getting tired of walking up these stairs.”
The Chief Engineer of Building and Grounds Kenneth Cohen said that modernizing the elevators and escalators is a project that will take 30 months to complete. in this process, all eight elevators and six escalators in the Academic Core Building will be removed and replaced. He also said he wants the college community to know that there is work getting done even if there is no sight of change yet.
“While you see no action as of yet during this point of the project, it is all behind the scenes,” said Cohen. “Be assured that there is movement and progress is being made.”
The President of York Student Government Association David Tobo said that 13.4 million dollars was allocated to the school for multiple public sources so that the current escalators and elevators can be replaced. He also said the ones that will be getting replaced are the escalators on the Liberty side of the core building which is by the public safety department office and towards the A-corridor. The plan is to turn them into staircases. This project will be ongoing process, Tobo said they will continue working on them while classes are back in session.
“In June they start ripping out the escalators, and then they can only do two elevators at a time by shutting them off.” Said Tobo. “The reason why they are starting in June is because the school will be a lot more empty.”
The Future Plan!
On the York College “Five Year Plan” document, the total cost for replacing and installing new elevators and escalators is almost 24 thousands dollars. This upgrade comes hand in hand with York’s goal for 2018, to “attract new students.”