Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Students’ trust in elevators needs a lift

“I don’t trust that elevator,” said a student on the sixth floor of Fenton last Monday while leaving class. One of the elevators had been stuck wide open, its alarm sounding, disturbing both students and faculty. This is just one elevator related incident that has plagued the campus throughout the past few weeks.

After two entrapment incidents in both Modern Theatre and Miller Residence Halls, as well as out of service elevators, it is not surprising to students that elevators across campus can be unreliable. However, this uncertainty has raised an important question amongst students: are the elevators on campus really safe?

Jim Wallace, the director of facilities and maintenance at Suffolk, said, “no elevator on campus is unsafe.”

On March 3, two students alleged they became temporarily stuck in an elevator in Miller Hall. Misa Tran and Carla McDonough were in an elevator that started shaking, stopped going to the floor they requested, and became temporarily stuck, Tran told a Suffolk Journal reporter. The two pressed the alarm button and were able to get out of the elevator, Tran said.

On Feb. 26, the same reporter saw a student enter an elevator in the Modern Theatre residence hall at about 11:30 p.m. Shortly after, the reporter could hear the female student yelling for help as the elevator was stuck between floor four M and floor four. An hour later, the student was still stuck in the elevator. Two Suffolk University Police Department officers and a member of the maintenance staff were working on the issue. Shortly later, the student was freed from the elevator.

Sign hung in Modern Theatre elevator.
(Photo by Haley Peabody)

A contract between Suffolk University and one of its elevator companies says that a maintenance representative must respond to an entrapment within an hour. Although unfortunate the student was stuck, the company responded within the time agreed upon in its contract.

The university works with several different elevator companies but the one that is the most prominent on campus is Delta Beckwith, a company that has been servicing elevators in the Boston area since 1889. According to Wallace, the company was chosen not only for its history but its ability to meet the needs of the university and its pricing.

Delta Beckwith currently services 51 elevators on campus and is entering its fifth year in contract with Suffolk. Although its presence on campus may often go unnoticed, it makes up an important part of the maintenance staff. Maintenance representatives from Delta Beckwith perform inspections of the elevators on a bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annual basis, evaluating and maintaining each elevator, according to Jim Cummings, the general manager of Delta Beckwith.

In regards to elevator inspection permits, although the majority of the permits on display in the elevators say they are expired, Cummings said all of the elevators on campus are in compliance with state regulations and the permits have been paid within the allotted time. But, the state is notorious for falling behind on issuing permits, which should be issued soon, Cummings said.

As to the repairs that are needed in around campus, the problem elevator in Miller Hall that temporarily trapped Tran and McDonough should be repaired by Wednesday, March 26, said Cummings. He also stated that the repairs took so long as a result of “a custom cable that needed to be ordered.”

Cummings was not aware that the elevator from the Feb. 26 incident in the Modern Theatre was still out of service.

The out of service elevator in the Ridgeway building will be immobilized through the remainder of the semester due to the replacement of a hydraulic tank that poses particular difficulty. Plans are currently being made with Delta Beckwith to repair the out-of-order elevator and potentially replace and update both elevators. These repairs are expected to take three to five days, and are therefore planned for this summer.

As well as keeping its current elevators up and running, the facilities department also has plans to make updates and improvements. Wallace said that plans to remodel elevators in the Sawyer building are still in progress but will be pushed to the summer of 2015 due to other repairs and updates scheduled in the building this summer.

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Haley Peabody, Arts Editor

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Students’ trust in elevators needs a lift