USF not to blame for expired licenses

A missing piece of paper may not be as serious as it appears.

Elevators in the Cypress B Residence Hall and the Leroy Collins Parking Facility lack certificates of operation required by state law.

The certificate must be obtained by each operator  to keep a functioning elevator, and must be renewed annually. Though the elevators lack updated certificates, this doesn’t mean the University is neglecting them.

On the contrary, USF officials said they’re waiting to receive their renewed certificates and have been following Florida’s rules for proper elevator upkeep.

“The state requires a couple of different things of an elevator owner,” said Kelly Best, associate director for facilities for USF Housing and Residential Education. “We have a certified elevator service contractor (General Elevator) that maintains them on a regular basis.”

The state also requires that elevators be inspected frequently. Once a week, an elevator mechanic looks at the elevators and maintains them as needed, Best said.

“We are also required by law to use a third-party inspector,” he said. “It’s the third-party inspector that has to submit all the paperwork to Tallahassee stating, ‘Yes, they have passed all the tests and the elevators are OK.'”

According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a certificate to operate an elevator costs $75 per year.

If operators choose to not update their license certificate, the state must take action.

“We will send someone out or send them a letter to let them know they are delinquent. If it remains delinquent for a long amount of time, the department will take action with fines and that sort of thing,” said Alexis Antonacci, press secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

“The only two that we have currently that we are waiting on are the Cypress B elevators. They were recently inspected in August, I believe,” said Anne Mulvihil, office manager for USF Facilities for Housing and Residential Education. “They were cleared. (The inspector) was going to submit the paperwork to Tallahassee, so we are just waiting on the certificates.”

The Leroy Collins Parking Facility elevators are also awaiting their updated certificates, but for a different reason.

“There is nothing wrong with the elevators in terms of functioning or safety,” said Manuel Lopez, Parking and Transportation Services director. “The reason that it had not been certified is because it was missing some signage.”

Signs that hang inside the elevator — such as those indicating what to do in an emergency — were stolen from the parking garage, he said, delaying the certificates.

“The reason it’s missing some signage is because, as fast as we put it up, it disappears. The signs are those which say, ‘In case of an emergency don’t use the elevator,’ and they have it in Braille as well,” Lopez said.

Inspectors cannot pass the elevators for a new certificate without those signs. However, the elevators in the garage have been inspected and are safe, he said.

“We’ve been working on this now for about two weeks,” Lopez said. “Anytime now we should get notified. It’s just a matter of receiving the certificates now.”

Madeline Meade, a freshman majoring in psychology and Cypress B resident, said the lack of updated elevator certificates could make the elevators seem unsafe.

“If I thought it was a safety issue, I wouldn’t ride the elevator,” Meade said.

The USF elevators awaiting certificates will be updated as soon as the certificates arrive and an elevator mechanic can install them.

“The elevators are inspected and operational even though a little piece of paper isn’t hanging there at the moment, or they would be shut down and people would be walking,” Best said. “There is no question about that.”