Students get shafted by elevator maintenance

Students taking summer courses should consider giving themselves a few extra minutes to get to class. Beginning this month, a variety of campus construction projects will be underway.

In addition to the ongoing construction of the Human Health Building, the list of summer fixes includes various elevator upgrades, new roofing and sidewalk repairs.

“We will be doing the Dodge Hall elevator, roofing for North Foundation Hall and Varner Hall, minor masonry repairs in the parking structure and Science and Engineering building, and several same mechanical projects,” Terry Stollsteimer, associate vice president of facilities management, said. Stollsteimer said OU has over $170 million in identified projects that need to be completed on campus.

Elevator upgrades are common renovations because they have to stay up to code.

“Over the last 5 years and based on age, inspections and wear and tear, we have updated infrastructure of elevators,” Stollsteimer said.

Ryan Giorio, a senior engineer in facilities management, said that 8 elevators have been upgraded in the past 3 years.

On April 18 an email was sent to students and staff regarding the closure of the Dodge Hall elevator.

“This work will require some cutting, drilling and general construction on the first floor and basement floor hall, just outside the elevator,” the email said.

Giorio expressed the need to reevaluate the condition of campus elevators. He said the Dodge Hall elevator is receiving maintenance in order to replace a jack that is over 40 years old.

Tiania Paul, a junior sociology major, has had experience with campus elevator closures.

“I worked on the fourth floor in O’Dowd and they cut all of the elevators off. (I was) having to do errands all around campus and walk up and down four or five flights of stairs, it’s ridiculous,” she said.

Sophomore Chris Ware, a graphic design major, suggested more construction should be done around campus, including adding elevators to residence halls.

“I feel like that (not repairing) is violating some kind of code,” Ware said.

Paul was concerned about the elevator closures around campus. “There are lot of older people working at Oakland and they can’t afford to walk up and down four or five flights of stairs,” Paul said. “I feel like they shouldn’t be doing everything all at once.”

Students and faculty may disagree about the nature of the assortment of campus upgrades, but everyone who spends time on campus will be affected by the repairs taking place throughout the summer.

Opinions aside, campus improvement projects will be a staple of the 2011 academic off-season.