Campus reacts to repeated elevator malfunctions
THE SANTA CLARA
January 16, 2014
Santa Clara maintains its visually attractive grounds through the constant upkeep of new buildings, graceful fountains and beautiful gardens. But the university has been plagued with a strange variety of recurring elevator problems for the past few years which, according to students, have been an inconvenience.
Dunne Residence Hall, which has five floors, has experienced an array of elevator problems since the 2011-2012 school year.
According to junior Luis Valenzuela, who lived on the fifth floor of Dunne during his freshman year, students seldom used the building’s two elevators because of how slow they were and their constant technical problems.
“We called one elevator the ghost elevator because it would go up to random floors and open up without anybody pressing the button,” Valenzuela said. “It would sit there with the door open and go down to another floor and do the same thing. Also, a bunch of times out of the year they had to close the whole elevator down on the left side to do maintenance on it because it was not working.”
Freshman Katie Rogers, who currently lives on the fifth floor of Dunne, said the “ghost elevator” still stops on random floors and runs throughout the entire night.
Issues are not limited to the Dunne Residence Hall. Sophomore Nicole Mattson, who lived in Campisi Hall her freshman year, recalls the unreliability of the single elevator in the four-floor building.
“There was one time when the elevator doors were missing from the elevator, and it had a sign that said ‘sorry elevator broken,’” Mattson said. “I have also heard of a couple people getting stuck in them, and my friend’s family got stuck in the elevator when they were moving her in.”
According to Mattson, in Sobrato Hall, students who want to go down in the elevator from the second floor, must push the “up” button, but if they want to go up in the elevator they have to push the “down” button.
The most infamous of the elevator issues occurred during spring quarter of the 2012-2013 school year, when a Swig Residence Hall elevator fell from the first floor to the basement at around midnight due to an overload of people in the elevator.
Sophomore Blair Libby, who lives on the seventh floor of Swig, witnessed the elevator plummet while he was waiting for the elevator on the first floor.
“Tons of people were screaming inside of the elevator…“
“There were a ton of people in (the elevator), and then it fell and we heard a huge thud,” said Libby. “Tons of people were screaming inside of the elevator, and Campus Safety waited for about 30 minutes for the elevator repairmen to come because you cannot open the doors unless you have a prybar.”
Nobody was injured in the incident, and both the people trapped inside the downed elevator and those in the basement were able to pry the doors open with their hands.
Director of Housing Building Operations, Mako Ushihara, said that Otis Elevator Company has a technician on campus nearly every day, and is on-call 24 hours a day. Ushihara also said that all elevators on campus are inspected annually by the Elevator, Ride and Tramway Unit per California law. All elevators on the Santa Clara campus are up-to-date on their state-mandated inspections, according to Ushihara.
“If an elevator problem is discovered by our service contractor, or an elevator malfunctions for any reason while in service, we work with our service contractor to quickly to correct the problem to get the elevator operating properly,” Ushihara said. “Sometimes, if parts are needed to complete the repair of the elevator, it may take a few days to get the elevator back in service. The Housing Office has always and continues to prioritize the upkeep and repair of elevators within housing buildings.”
According to Jeffrey Charles, director of Facilities for Santa Clara, Facilities is not allowed to release operating costs regarding elevator repair, nor make a comment regarding the specific elevator difficulties present in the residence halls.
Despite the complaints from students about ongoing problems with elevators on campus, Charles said the elevators perform well and are available for use the majority of the time.
Records show that from Jan. 14, 2013 to Jan. 13, 2014, elevators accross campus were working 99.8 percent of the time and the availability rate of residence hall elevators was 99.7 percent.
“I would say that is pretty impressive,” said Charles.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.