Elevators refurbished for safety

The elevators in Building’s 1-11 at Sinclair Community College are being refurbished and brought up to code standards this month. Cameras are also being installed in all of the elevators to prevent crime and to ensure the safety of the passengers.

The entire project will cost Sinclair $244,000 in repair costs. It should be completed by the end of February.

The speed of the elevators will not be changed at all. The elevators are hydraulic and cannot be changed to electric elevators, which are faster but more expensive to operate.

According to Ron Hovell, a cabling construction manger specialist, the elevator’s cabs needed re-skinned in a more sustainable material. Sinclair chose a pre-engineered panel system that is segmented, so that they can replace a piece of the panel instead of the entire wall. He said that the elevators walls were original and had not been replaced since 1972 so they were due for refurbishment.

Robert “Woody” Woodruff, the Facilities Management director, said that cameras were also installed so that we can preserve the safety of the individuals who use Sinclair’s elevators.

“Once those doors close, it’s only you and whoever’s in there. So it’s for the safety of the riders,” Hovel said.

Cameras all around the campus are not a new idea. There are cameras in more than a hundred locations on campus including in the library, bookstore, the parking lots, garages and all of the stores, restaurants and cafes, Woodruff said.

“We have an initiative campus-wide where we are getting more eyes on the campus. Security, safety, this is just one project. There are cameras all over campus to monitor campus activity in places,” Woodruff said.

There are also cameras around the “blue lights” to monitor that part of campus and for viewing the pedestrian walkways. Most of the cameras were installed over 15 years ago. However, the elevator cameras will be a recent addition for the first time at Sinclair.

“You could scenario that, if someone is sick and can’t breathe and can’t reach the call button, the camera is seeing what’s going on in the elevators,” Woodruff said.  “There’s a reason for that. Maybe a pregnant mother is having a problem and the police can see by the camera and dispatch some people.”

Sinclair has had a few instances where the elevators stopped between floors and the campus police had to “rescue” the individuals trapped on the elevators. Woodruff states that it is a rare occurrence and not a huge problem.

He said that the elevator immediately goes to alarm, which directs the police dispatcher who is at Sinclair all hours of the day.

“There have been instances; it’s not a perfect world,” Woodruff said. “They’re not there for hours or days where they’re sweating like in the movies, it’s a matter of minutes before they can get up in there.”

Woodruff cites graffiti as another reason that cameras are being installed in the elevators. He said that Sinclair spends a lot of time, effort and money to try to maintain the campus. According to Woodruff, most people respect the campus but that there is always some people who try to “make their mark” by defacing Sinclair property.

Sinclair is inspected by the state every month and it has inspectors around any time they have a project, Woodruff said. Sinclair abides by very strict state regulations and that the elevators are no exception to this rule.

“It’s a public safety issue,” he said.

If the elevators are not up-to-par then Sinclair would have to shut them down. Woodruff said that it would be a huge issue if Sinclair had to shut down the elevators because handicapped students rely on them to get to classes.

The idea is to have a regular cycle of maintenance and repairs to prevent the campus from becoming run down, he said.

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