Students speak out about faulty campus elevators


Josh LaBellaGeneral Assignment Reporter

Ashley Raymone said she got stuck in the Chase Hall elevator last year, but she did not panic.

“It wasn’t that bad,” said Raymone, a sophomore biology major. “I just pushed the button and talked to a lady, she told me they were sending folks right away to get me out.”

Getting stuck did not interrupt her schedule, Raymone said, as she was not doing anything important at the time.

“When the service people got to me I wanted to get out,” said Raymone. “They actually opened the doors at first but then they did something wrong and the doors shut and locked with me inside.”

Emaji Smith, a junior interdisciplinary studies major with concentrations in public health and psychology, said in Neff Hall, the elevators break about once a month. She said it does not interfere with her schedule but it does bother her.

“One time they were both broken,” said Smith. “I am not taking stairs to the fifth floor.”

According to John Sullivan, a junior business marketing major, the elevators in Schwartz Hall break down pretty often but he does not mind.

“It hasn’t really been a problem with me,” said Sullivan. “I don’t mind taking the stairs but they are so far away.”

Tafari Turner, a graduate student getting a master’s in business administration, also lives in Schwartz Hall and said he blames the building’s age.

“I don’t mind when they break cause then I get an extra couple of steps,” said Turner. “I feel like some people are just lazy.”

In North campus the elevators are too slow, said Emily Vilhotti, a junior special education major. She said they have broken once since she moved in this semester.

“Sometimes it skips my floor,” said Vilhotti. “I push the button and I hear it go all the way up and all the way back down to the lobby and I have to try again.”

Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations, said the elevators get maintenance from Bay State Elevator.

“We have a maintenance contract with the company,” said Sheeley. “It’s an annual contract that covers all the elevators on our campus,”

According to Bay State Elevator’s website, they have a strong history and the technical experience to service a higher education facility like Southern Connecticut State University.

Sheeley said the problem they are facing now is the age of the buildings on campus. He said the school put money into the capital budget program to replace a few elevators on campus in a few months.

“This summer we will be overhauling three elevators at a cost of $167,000 each,” said Sheeley. “One elevator is in Hickerson and two are in Wilkinson.”

There is a plan in the works to replace all the old elevators, said Sheeley, but they need to prioritize based on urgency. According to him, elevators are hard to work on during the school year because they need to be operational for students.

 “There’s economics behind this,” said Sheeley. “Now the contractor doesn’t have to reset for the second one and they don’t need don’t worry about the elevators breaking down or leaving their tools out.”

Sheeley said the school will always come up with the money to maintain the elevators, regardless of budget cuts.

“These are safety issues,” said Sheeley. “We don’t compromise on safety issues. Period.”

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez

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