University Times

Administration goes on record about broken elevators

Facilities Services addresses student frustrations with elevator maintenance.

Campus Police and LAFD respond to students trapped in a king Hall elevator on Oct. 17.

J. Aaron Delgado

Campus Police and LAFD respond to students trapped in a king Hall elevator on Oct. 17.

Ricky Rodas, Investigative Reporter

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Students who are familiar with Cal State LA’s elevators know that they have not been reliable this past semester. Malfunctions have long frustrated riders, leading some students to vent about this issue on the Cal State LA Book Exchange Facebook page.

One student, Evelyn Sanchez, mentioned that she got stuck in a campus elevator on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

“I just got stuck this Tuesday in the elevator by the b-wing on the right on the 1st floor going to the 4th floor in King Hall… I had to call campus police to get out,” Sanchez said. “I think they’re old and need serious attention. They just fix them when there’s an incident and not any other time.”

According to Facilities Services’ webpage, elevator malfunctions are listed as emergency items, and an emergency must either be handled immediately or within 24 hours. Furthermore, if the situation has been temporarily dealt with but not completely resolved, the work order may be re-prioritized as an Urgent or Routine work order.

Several elevators are out of order in buildings throughout campus. These include one in the Music Building, one in King Hall, two in Library north and one in Parking Structure C.

The University Times (UT) conducted a joint interview with Facilities Director Dana Twedell and Assistant Facilities director Michael Rodriguez to shed light on this situation.

“Every time we get a call, we’ll send the elevator technician out immediately to see what the problem is, release the entrapment–first of all, if there is one–then diagnose the problem. With the majority of the elevators being so old and antiquated, troubleshooting takes that much longer, the diagnosis takes that much longer,” said Rodriguez.

“Once the elevator technician establishes what the problem is, parts may take that much longer to acquire because they’re so old; sometimes they have to be specially fabricated,” said Twedell.

Twedell continued by saying that the elevator technician is available five days a week to fix these issues.

“In regards to after hours, there’s no expense spared when it comes to solving a problem. If there is any entrapments, any elevators go down, we have a one hour response; that is, we can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we can have a tech on site within an hour.”

According to Twedell, The Music Building elevator is currently out of order, and is currently scheduled for modernization.

“It’s being rebuilt and renewed, and it will be brought back online here. We’re saying mid-December, but we’re hoping it’ll be online this week.”

According to them, the Music Building elevator is the oldest one on campus, and has been in service since the 1940’s. Rodriguez also said that all of the aforementioned elevators have been out of order for about 2 months. On Monday, Nov. 27, Facilities Services put out a written statement addressing the campus wide elevator issues.

The status update stated that Facilities is planning to “modify two elevators at Library North, and two elevators at King Hall, this coming spring of 2018.”
The statement also read that a third party consultant inspected the elevator conditions; their assessment led Facilities Services to part ways with their former service provider.

“We elected to terminate our current service contract, and have entered into a new emergency agreement with an alternative vendor. Currently, this new vendor is quickly working to get our elevators back in top form, and we’ve been very satisfied with their work thus far,” the statement read.

Both Twedell and Rodriguez declined to name the former service provider.

Aside from third party consultants, The California State University (CSU) system employs a team of auditors that conduct audit reports for all CSUs.

The UT spoke with Public Affairs manager, Elizabeth Chapin, regarding facilities management audit reports.

In a series of emails, Chapin wrote that CSU auditors have not conducted a facilities audit for Cal State LA in the past three years. The last facilities-related audit for the campus was a 1999 Plant Operations report.

Chapin also wrote that there is currently no facilities audit in progress.

Cal State LA also has its own internal auditors that conduct reports on all campus departments. In an email written to the UT by University Internal auditor Tanya Ho, she stated that campus auditors audited one facilities related topic: the Motor Vehicle Inspection Program.

When asked if there is a facilities audit in progress or one planned, Ho wrote, “No, there isn’t one in progress and we haven’t planned one for 2018 year.”

To contact Facilities Services directly, please visit their office in the Corporation Yard, Building A, Room 246, or call at (323)-343-3440.

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Administration goes on record about broken elevators