In the first month of school, Boston University’s Operations and Services Center has received an unusually high number of calls regarding malfunctioning elevators in Warren Towers, said Bill Walter, assistant vice president for Operations and Services.
The nature of the calls range from minor adjustments and replacements of parts to entrapments, Walter said. He said there have been 18 complaints in total, and the reports have come in at various times during the day. The incidents do not appear to follow a particular pattern.
“Their [mechanics’] response time can vary based on the nature of the call,” Walter said. “Entrapments are the highest priority and, in many cases, the mechanic is on site within minutes of the call. Calls are dispatched immediately by Facilities Operations and Services Center staff to the Otis Mechanics by the university radio system.”
Walter said in the first month of the fall semester, his call logs show there have been three calls for Fairfield Tower elevators, eight calls for Marshall Tower elevators and four calls for Shields Tower elevators. He said one person was stuck in a Marshall Tower elevator on Sept. 22, and an unspecified Warren Tower elevator was out of order for more than two days on at least two separate occasions.
Walter said the elevators in Warren Towers were originally installed in 1965 and 1966, and frequently inconvenience the 1,800 students who reside in the building.
The Fairfield Tower and Marshall Tower passenger elevators were modernized in the mid to late ‘90s, and the Shields Tower passenger elevator was most recently modernized in 2001, Walter said.
“The Facilities Management group reviews the condition of the elevator inventory, as well as other capital equipment, for renewal or replacement,” Walter said. “Scheduled elevator and escalator maintenance is done on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis by licensed elevator mechanics.”
Walter said Otis Elevator Company mechanics are located on campus to respond to maintenance or emergency calls in the buildings across BU’s campus. In addition, he said state of Massachusetts officials inspect and test each elevator unit every year.
Jenny Huynh, a College of Communication freshman, said the Warren Towers elevators are extremely inefficient and constantly inconvenience her day-to-day schedule.
“I have trouble with the elevators every single day,” Huynh said. “It is a huge inconvenience, there’s always at least one not working. I have to plan extra time to get to class because I can’t trust that the elevators will be working properly. The university needs to completely replace the elevators with ones that can adequately cater to the amount of students using them.”
Lauren Howard, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman and Warren Towers resident, said since she lives on one of the top floors of Warren Towers, working elevators are a necessity. She said the poor condition of the elevators and the number of student complaints should be a sign to officials that the elevators need to be replaced.
“The management doesn’t pay enough attention to the problems that affect our daily lives — they only pay attention if it’s a big issue that can’t possibly be ignored,” Howard said. “And now they’re shutting down all three B [Marshall] Tower elevators at once … which is just a bigger ordeal.”
Grace Pearson, a COM freshman, said the elevators are mechanically flawed and should be addressed by university officials.
“I am very impatient because just waiting for the doors to open and close so slowly delays me when I am trying to get somewhere,” Pearson, a Warren Towers resident, said.
Wanli Tan, School of Management freshman, said the elevators are extremely worn down, operate very slowly and make him feel unsafe.
“The elevators make me feel insecure,” Tan, a Warren Towers resident, said. “There is always a fear of getting trapped.”