Despite old age and appearance, campus elevators safe in full service

November 3, 2015

By Gabbi Fusco

Do you ever enter an elevator on campus, hear the absolutely gut wrenching moan of gears turning, look at the buttons on the doors and ask yourself, “Am I going to make it to the next floor?”

Even though the outdated look of some of our elevators may mimic scenes from a horror movie and remind students of their ride on the Tower of Terror, the lifts here on campus undergo regular maintenance and will soon be getting a much needed makeover.

There are eight working elevators on campus located in Fine Arts, Power Hall, Coughlin Hall, Parmer Hall, the parking garage, Lewis Hall, Lewis Annex and on the Priory campus.

The elevators on campus are inspected on an annual basis, as required by the state, according to Daniel Bulow, director of building and grounds.

Every five years the elevators undergo an additional full load test to check the emergency brakes. Once inspection has been passed all notices are posted on the interior of the elevators.

For day-to-day mishaps, Dominican has full maintenance contract with Otis Elevators.

“They’re here probably once a week,” said Bulow. “You would be surprised how rarely the elevators are out of service.”

Maintenance and regular inspections are great, but those can only do so much.

The one caveat of Otis’ maintenance contract is that elevator repairs can only be completed if the parts are not up to date.

The Priory residence elevator has been out of service for an extended period of time beginning with what seemed like a routine piston replacement.

“I had a budget of $46,000 to replace the piston,” said Bulow.

But once the inspection was complete, Otis the maintenance company realized the elevator needed an additionally walled oil piston to stay up to code and avoid oil leakage. The repairs exceeded the original budget making them equal to or more than cost of purchasing a new elevator. So that is what they intend to do sometime between the summer of 2017 and summer 2018.

The elevator in the Fine Arts building was due for modernization this year, but unfortunately the elevator in Lewis suffered server mechanism damage. However, the parts were so outdated that they were in violation of the maintenance contract and could not be effectively replaced. Because the elevator in the Fine Arts building was still operable, Bulow decided to invest resources into the elevator in Lewis. The one in Fine Arts is anticipated to me renovated sometime after the 2016 graduation, assuming all plans go well.

“The fact is that these elevators are fully maintained and inspected regularly by a number of technicians,” said Bulow. “The next time you find yourself praying with every fiber of your being for the doors to open, relax and remember you’re in great hands. I can only go up from here.”