JP elevators undergo $1 million renovations; some students feel stuck

The elevator project is set to be completed by the end of spring 2020. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Juniper-Poplar Hall's six elevators will undergo major repairs over the course of the next year.

Housing and Residential Education (HRE) is replacing all of the motors in the elevators. Andrew Johnson, director for operations and outreach for HRE, said each motor costs about $200,000, including installation, with the total cost being roughly $1.2 million.

The vendor in charge of the replacements is KONE, which operates all 41 elevators in the residence halls.

The project is set to be completed by the end of spring 2020, Johnson said.

The motors were ordered six months ago and installation of the replacements began March 11 at Poplar Hall. Johnson said it takes up to six weeks to install a new motor, and the first replacement is set to be completed by the end of next week.

However, when one elevator is shut down for repair, Johnson said the adjacent elevator has to be closed as well.

“One of our highest priorities this year was to replace all of the motors in the six elevators located in JPH since its 10-year life-cycle is about to expire,” Johnson said. “In order to effectively replace the motors, the number two elevator has to be taken offline for safety reasons, which might increase the elevator traffic.”

With one elevator operating for all seven floors, some students are complaining about the inconvenience of waiting extra time, especially when they are running late for class.

Junayed Jahangir, a freshman majoring in finance, said not having all the elevators working decreases efficiency and convenience when living in an on-campus residence hall.

“It’s fairly inconvenient especially since we are college kids and have such a high-pace life with classes, club activities and jobs,” Jahangir said. “When you’re rushing to your classes or even coming back from your job and you see that the elevators are not working, it takes away efficiency from our lives.”

The downtime for Elevator 2 is expected to be less than two hours after the beginning of each shift, Johnson said. Workers tend to start the replacement of the motor after 10 a.m. to respect the quiet hours established in the residence halls.

After the new motor installation of Elevator 1 is complete, HRE is set to begin working on Elevator 3 in Poplar Hall in May.

Replacement of the motor on Elevator 3 in Juniper Hall will start at the beginning of fall and Elevator 2 in Poplar Hall over the winter break.

“The proactive maintenance of the residential elevators has been a strategic priority for Housing and Residential Education so that our residents experience a minimal number of service disruptions and we maximize the life expectancy of university equipment,” Johnson said.

Zachary Netzeo, a freshman majoring in marketing, currently lives on the sixth floor at Poplar Hall and chooses to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator.

“It is very inconvenient not having all the elevators working in the morning, especially since I live on the sixth floor,” Netzeo said. “Most of the times, I choose to take the stairs instead of spending time waiting that long. It’s annoying.”

Jessica Senatus, a freshman majoring in business analytics and information systems, said she was late for a class since she was not aware of the repairs going on in the Poplar Hall elevators.

“This elevator breakdown is kind of ridiculous at this point since it happens so many times throughout the semester and it takes a long time to fix it,” Senatus said. “I also don’t know where my tuition is going since I’m paying more to stay in Poplar than I pay for my tuition, so most of the times makes me feel discouraged about living on campus.”

Naomi Steffer, a freshman majoring in business advertising, said repairs are necessary to maintain the safety of all residents. However, waiting is becoming inconvenient.

“I understand that they need to make those repairs and that they are necessary for the well-being of the building, but I don’t know why it’s taking several weeks to complete all the repairs,” … said. “They’ve been at it for more than a month and it’s making things more inconvenient for the people living in the building.”

Once work is completed, Johnson said the motor replacements will increase the life expectancy of the elevators and improve the student experience.

“Housing and Residential Education is committed to always having at least one elevator operating,” Johnson said. “This project is intended to extend the life and maintain low occurrences of service outages for the six elevators over the next 10-plus years.”