Breakdown in communication leads to elevator repair delay
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 17:09
Getting to the third floor of Gooch Hall has been a challenge for both faculty and students many times during the past year, due to the passenger elevator’s frequent breakdowns.
Often faculty and students have ridden the passenger elevator from the first floor to the third floor of Gooch Hall, and then an hour later discovered that the same elevator no longer went to the third floor; it only went to the second floor, or would not move at all.
On days that this and other crazy elevator phenomena, such as completely skipping floors, trying to crush its passengers as they board, or stopping on floors for no apparent reason, have occurred, the hallways of Gooch Hall have been filled with both faculty and students complaining about the “stupid elevator being broke down again” and asking when it was going to be replaced.
Meanwhile, both faculty and students were unaware that an even bigger breakdown was occurring, on a regular basis, in Gooch Hall and possibly other buildings all over the UTM campus.
This even bigger breakdown was discovered by The Pacer staff during an investigation concerning the frequent elevator breakdowns. The official work order reports, which were obtained from the Physical Plant Operations office, showed that the passenger elevator in Gooch Hall broke down an average of once a month during the past year.
Now, before anyone blows a gasket and says, “That’s totally crazy, it has averaged breaking down at least once a week,” continue reading.
The even bigger breakdown that occurred on a regular basis in Gooch Hall this past year has been a breakdown in communication.
While everyone constantly complained about the passenger elevator breaking down and assumed that someone else had reported the breakdown, in reality, a lot of the time no one actually did.
The Physical Operations staff cannot be held accountable for not fixing something that they were not aware was broken.
However, during The Pacer staff’s investigation into this matter, a way to keep this type of communication breakdown from occurring in the future was discovered. Anytime a faculty member or student observes an area that requires some type of repair that needs to be performed by a member of maintenance, an email should be sent to email@example.com detailing the location and nature of the problem.
The investigation also revealed that the passenger elevator in Gooch Hall is not scheduled to be replaced after all. According to the Physical Plant, it is scheduled to be upgraded sometime during the spring or summer of 2013.
This scheduled upgrade is part of an Elevator Upgrade project at UTM that is still in design and will cost $3,750,000. The project includes the upgrading of existing elevators in the Boling University Center, Gooch Hall, EPS Building, Hall-Moody Administration Building, Fine Arts Building, Humanities Building, Paul Meek Library and Brehm Hall. The elevators in Clement Hall and the Elam Center, however, will be replaced with new ones.
According to the Physical Plant, if there are enough funds available in the Elevator Upgrade project, Gooch Hall will receive an additional elevator, which will be located next to the existing passenger elevator.
When the passenger elevator in Gooch Hall breaks down, there are some students that, due to physical restrictions, are unable to attend their classes on the second and third floors. Jerald Ogg, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained the faculty’s standing concerning these absences and confirmed the addition of a second elevator being installed in the building.
“The faculty has been exceptionally understanding about the Gooch elevator issues. I think they understand that our physical plant folks are doing everything they can to keep the elevator operational, and they are encouraged by the fact that we will soon have a second elevator in the building. Still, there is no question that it has been frustrating, particularly as the faculty has needed to accommodate students impacted by the breakdowns,” Ogg said. “I teach in Gooch myself, and we are all finding ways to be creative in how we manage these disruptions. I appreciate the students’ patience, and we’ll get through this together.”