Elevators unavailable, remain at standstill
Liberal Arts Building lift has been out of service since October
All-American Elevator mechanics Frank Catalano (left) and Scott Candau perform maintenance in the Liberal Arts Building elevator on Friday. The elevator has been out of service since October. Qing Huang / The Advocate
After breaking down in October 2012, the elevator in the Liberal Arts Building has been under repair and will be available for use by the end of February.
Because of its old age, Contra Costa College officials have struggled to bring the 52-year-old elevator up to date. Including the buttons inside the lift, the starter and the controller panel, parts for the elevator were customized to accommodate its structure.
All-American Elevators, the contractor that handled the maintenance, ordered the parts and did not receive them until early January 2013, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.
"It took a while to get (the parts) so we were unable to get the elevator fixed faster," he said. "It really put (the people on campus) at a disadvantage getting uphill to the Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences buildings, especially those with a disability."
Construction started on Jan. 21 and finished on Monday. King said while the three main components were replaced, All-Americans Elevators also repaired the pipes and mufflers of its hydraulic elevator system.
All-American Elevators mechanic Scott Candau said they fixed the pipes due to oil leakage. The leakage also contributed to the elevator stopping.
Siemens USA previously installed the fire alarm system in November 2012 to bring the elevator to standard for fire code safety. It was upgraded so that in the event a fire were to happen, the elevator will lower to the bottom floor. The lift will then let riders out and automatically go out of service, King said.
The repairs by All-American Elevators carried a price tag of $49,357 with the additional $27,947 for the upgrades by Siemens.
Although maintenance is near completion, King said the elevator is unavailable for use until approval from a Certified Competent Conveyance Inspector (CCCI) from the California Department of Industrial Relations.
Despite the long wait, College President Denise Noldon is anxious for the elevator's availability.
She said because the elevator in the LA Building provides access for students to get to their classes on time, it impacts their quality of education.
For business administration major Ramon Chavez, however, he currently faces a 30-minute trip as he pushes his wheelchair to get to his Contemporary Chicano/Latino Literature class on the second floor of the LA Building.
Chavez said from the Library Building, he has to travel up the path toward the Applied Arts Building and the path behind the Health Sciences Building to get to his 9:40 to 11 a.m. class.
"It's hard, but I have to do it," he said.
While the elevator in the LA Building is still out of service, the Disabled Students Programs and Services has been providing assistance for students with a disability to get to class.
"There are numbers they can contact - there is an opportunity that we've made so students can be accommodated if they request it," Dr. Noldon said.
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that elevators must be maintained and routinely inspected.
Failure to promptly address any temporary interruptions would place the college in violation of ADA code 407.
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