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Elevator Malfunctions in the East Residence Hall

September 13— During the week of Sept. 3, the East Residence Building’s elevators experienced two major malfunctions.

On Wednesday, September 5, a loud noise was heard and a freshman student stated, “We were in the elevator, I think there was one or two more people in there and so it said we’re at the lobby but the doors were closed. So, the doors weren’t opening so then it started shaking and then it dropped. And then we got to the lobby. So it dropped down to the lobby. It was really scary. I saw my life flash through my eyes.” Another student outside the elevator said they also heard the shake. There were no injuries reported.

The second incident occurred on the morning of Sept. 7. During the occurrence these issues resulted in an elevator dropping from the eighth to the fifth floor and, while there were people inside, no injuries were reported.

Freshman and resident of the East Building, Grace Smith, accounted that there is at least one elevator broken at a time. “I always hear it beep really loud.” There are 12 floors in the residence hall, but many students choose to use the stairs since hearing about the broken elevators. When asked why they prefer the stairs over the elevators, a freshman who lives on the eleventh floor said, “I don’t want to die yet.”

Three days after the first incident, the Office of Housing and Residential Life sent multiple emails to the residents. They reported the incidents and a faulty encoder system in all five elevators. As of Sept. 10, one elevator’s encoder “was replaced and [that elevator] is currently operational.”

In a later email interview, David Morrisey, Sr. Construction Manager of Capstone Development Partners, LLC, stated, “A few adjustments have been required to the elevators. Otis Elevators, the elevator manufacturer and installer, has promptly responded and has, or is, addressing each issue.  As the diagnostic testing by Otis continues, certain elevators may be taken out of service for a period of time for further adjustments.”

Capstone Development Partners started building in November 2016 and finished the residence halls in July of 2018, before move-in day on Sept. 2, 2018.

Morrisey went on, “…when a project of this size and scope, with sophisticated mechanical systems and equipment opens and is first occupied, it is typical for there to be adjustments necessary to various components or features of the building systems.”

He further said: “No elevators will be placed back into service unless they have been thoroughly checked to make sure they are operating properly and safely.  Mechanical systems and equipment, whether heating and air conditioning, plumbing, lighting, or elevator systems—even those of the high-quality installed in this community—are not infallible.  The elevator manufacturer, contractor, developer and manager of this community will continue routine and preventative maintenance on all systems and equipment to make sure they are operating properly.”

On Sept. 13, the Office of Housing and Residential Life sent out another email to the residents of the East Residence Hall, “On Friday, 9/14 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., all elevators will be inspected. One elevator car will be shut down at a time for 15-20 minutes while inspection is taking place. ”

Along with the elevators, there are various other cosmetic and  functional problems within the brand-new residence halls. A student said, “I’m probably going to die; the paint peels, hot water frequently disappears, elevators are always shut down, bathrooms are out of order.” The dining area closes at 7 p.m., not allowing students who come out of classes late or sporting practices to eat dinner. Director of Housing Operations, Melynda Davis, is planning on bringing the issue up with Dining Services.

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