Elevator break downs increase at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 27 September 2013 09:49
A person walks by elevators at the Jerome Library on the campus of Bowling Green State University. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green State University is working to update its elevators as part of a major building effort - even as some campus elevators have made the news in recent weeks for stalling and trapping riders.
"As we modernize the buildings on campus, we're also going in and modernizing the elevators as well," said Bruce Meyer, BGSU assistant vice president for campus operations. Currently, the campus is undergoing a $200 million project tackling its buildings over the next five to seven years. There are 87 elevators on campus.
The Bowling Green Fire Department has reported a total of 14 elevator rescues, involving more than 44 people, since the start of 2013. In one August incident, 21 people became stuck after cramming themselves into an elevator at the Offenhauer Towers residence hall.
Since July 1 of 2011, 49 elevator rescues have taken place on campus in all, according to figures provided by Bowling Green Fire Chief Stephen Meredith. Firefighters have responded to rescues only in recent years; previous to that, the matters were handled internally by BGSU crews.
Despite those figures, Meyer said that the university's elevator statistics compare favorably to those of other institutions.
The major push to update the elevators began roughly six months ago, said Meyer, and the department has revamped its interactions with those who maintain the elevators.
"Certainly we've gone out and reassessed the reevaluated our overall elevator plan."
Now, a weekly meeting is held with BGSU's elevator service provider, KONE Elevators, to go over problems. KONE is also working more hours on campus.
"We talk about preventative maintenance, we talk about schedules, we talk about service intervals, these kind of things. And that's a relatively new concept for campus," Meyer said.
During larger events at BGSU, like move-in and move-out, elevator support is now doubled.
Meyer also highlighted the fact that needed funding is being provided for the elevator projects by the university.
Elevator modernization has so far taken place in South Hall, the Physical Science building, Jerome Library, the Business Administration Building, the Math Science Building, the Student Recreation Center, and Kreischer residence hall, and is currently ongoing at Offenhauer - where work is expected to continue into 2014.
"It's a significant upgrade," said Meyer, noting that the new systems can even tell workers what has caused an elevator to stall.
Offenhauer - which has three elevators - has experienced the most elevator problems of any residence hall recently, something that Meyer chalked up, in part, to the current maintenance work.
"When we shut down to modernize (an elevator), all that traffic's on two elevators," he said.
"You're going to have a period of time where all of your occupants are riding on two elevators. And we really couldn't do less than that."
Meyer also noted that some elevator problems are caused by "behavioral" issues on the part of students. Even something as simple as jumping up and down in an elevator, or putting too many students into it, can cause the elevator to become stuck and require fire department assistance.
"I just want to make sure (students) understand that (elevators are) there to move from place to place, floor to floor."
Meyer praised the work of BG firefighters in getting stuck riders out of elevators quickly and safely. Most rescues are effected within 20 minutes.
"The fire department has done a remarkable job of not only timeliness and getting folks safely out of elevators, but they've mitigated and have not damaged elevators in having to rescue."

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