Visual Arts elevator and accessibility issues
author: elisabeth sahlmueller and kristian ferguson | staff writer and news editor
Elevator breakdowns common
In recent months, it has come to the student body’s attention that the elevator in the visual arts department has broken down more often than other elevators on campus.
Concerns were raised about accessibility issues and what students who depend on that elevator to get to class were to do in the event of an elevator breakdown.
Everett Dorma, in his position as part of External Relations for the University of Regina, spoke about the recent breakdowns.
“Over the past 12 months, we have received seven service calls for this elevator. We have received one call since Jan. 1, 2019,” said Dorma. “The university is aware of an increase in calls for service for this elevator and we are working to address the issue.”
Dorma assured that the cause is not unknown, and that the university was aware of what steps need to be made in order to alleviate the issue.
“The vast majority of service calls are related to the control system in the elevator, which is now obsolete and difficult to get parts for. We have a project scheduled to replace the control system this year,” said Dorma. “The elevator is original to the building, which was built in 1996.”
Dorma also further elaborated how campus security would be involved in the event that students needed help.
“In the last 12 months, Campus Security has responded to three calls regarding this elevator; only one involved people being stuck in the elevator.”
“Standard protocol is for security personnel to immediately notify the elevator repair company of the problem and go to the elevator. They announce to the person(s) in the elevator, who they are, and that the elevator service personnel are on their way. They wait with the person(s) until they are freed from the elevator and they record the incident and names of the people involved.”
The biggest issue related to the elevator breaking down is the issue of accessibility. Some students rely on the elevators to get to class and are without other options.
“Students who are unable to use the stairs should use the passenger elevator located between the Tim Hortons and the Theatre in the Riddell Centre. It provides access to the second floor of the Riddell Centre including the Visual Arts area,” stated Dorma.
Dorma did not comment on how students were to get to the basement floor, or floor zero, of the visual arts department.
Carillon staff walked the route and found that while it is possible to get to the basement floor of the visual arts department without the elevator in that department, it requires a significant work around.
They had to take the elevator, which was previously mentioned, by Tim Hortons and go to the underground parkade. From there, they found a door that led to the visual arts department, but it was a significant detour from the more direct visual arts elevator.
To the able-bodied crew of Carillon employees who investigated this matter, the detour wasn’t major, but this might not be the case for someone in a wheelchair or someone who has some other form of mobility aid.
The university is aware of the issue and, as Dorma reiterates in the interview, “Facilities Management is planning to replace the elevator’s control system, which is causing the problem, this year.”
It is unclear as to when exactly this year the elevator will be fixed. The Carillon is committed to reporting on the accessibility of the U of R campus and will continue to report on the matter as it arises and further develops.