by Katie Heneghan & Caroline McCarthy, Asst. Features Editor & Staff Writer
The four elevators in Horan Hall have stalled, broken down and caused a nuisance for students for the past few years, resulting in Manhattan College’s decision to replace the four elevators over the course of the 2019-2020 school year.
The $1.2 million dollar project will be conducted by the elevator company Thyssenkrupp. The company has begun its replacement of the first elevator car, and students and residents can expect it to be complete by the end of September. The entire project is expected to be completed by July 2020, with each elevator undergoing a 14-week replacement cycle.
Andrew Ryan, Vice President of Facilities, holds the responsibilities of overseeing and managing all construction projects, campus planning, and the work of Physical Plant. The replacement of the Horan Elevators has been a major financial undertaking for the college, as well as a disruption to residents in Horan.
“Over the last couple of years it became apparent that we had to do a major upgrade. They are the original elevators from the building,” Ryan said.
Despite the plethora of problems the Horan elevators have had, they have been regularly inspected and maintained throughout their 30-year life. Ryan confirmed that recent issues and complications are nothing more than normal wear and tear and malfunctions.
These complications, however, are not easily resolvable due to advancements in technology and original parts becoming obsolete.
“It gets to a point when they’re at the end of their useful life that some parts are no longer available, and other parts are hard to come by,” Ryan said.
Elevators are closely monitored by both the city, the college and the company who maintains their function. Inspections of elevators are thorough, and include a full assessment of safety. When things go wrong in the elevators, the college has to take action before the elevator can be put back into service.
“They categorize the items – there are different degrees of severity. When they’re doing the inspection, if anything is a safety hazard that would endanger someone, the car gets taken out of service and you cannot put it back into service until it has been repaired,” says Ryan.
These repairs also take an exorbitant toll on Physical Plant’s budget. One elevator coming off the track costs about $10,000 to fix. According to Ryan, Physical Plant has already spent $30,000 this year for repairs even before the $1.2 million renovation. These restorations may seem extravagant, but are seen as a necessary expense to protect the safety of Manhattan College students as well as to maintain the accessibility of the building.
The safety and well-being of Horan Hall students may be a top priority, but the constant construction on the elevators has created an inconvenience for all those living in the building.
“Basically, I either have to walk up or down eleven flights of stairs, or risk being late. The elevators could take two or ten minutes making it really hard to gauge when I need to leave for class to make sure I’m on time,” said Helena Lippolis, a sophomore who lives on Horan’s eleventh floor.
Freshman Marisa Ross lives on the fifth floor of Horan Hall, and, despite being at the college for less than a semester, already has her own elevator story.
“They’re obviously really slow and they never come up but one time I got stuck in an elevator on the right side. There was one other girl in there with me and we were freaking out because it got stuck for a few moments. After that, I don’t like to ride in that elevator anymore,” says Ross.
However, if there ever is an instance where an individual or group is stuck in an elevator, it is critical to use the phone in the elevator, unless there is some sort of medical emergency. This is an issue Physical Plant has run into numerous times, resulting in the need for extensive repairs to an elevator.
“If someone gets stuck in the elevator, they don’t necessarily use the phone in the elevator, they call 911 on their cell phone, and then what happens is the fire department comes – the fire department takes the axe to the elevator, and that’s an instant $10,000. That happened a couple of times last year,’’ says Ryan.
Residents can expect some relief over the course of the school year as the elevators are gradually replaced, but are still encouraged to report any issues to Public Safety during the repairs.