Expired certificates bring concerns about safety
A UMBC student posted on myUMBC concerning an elevator in Sherman Hall that had been out of service for a week, also noticing that its permit was expired as well as another elevator’s permit, also in Sherman.
Students who use elevators throughout campus are no stranger to their constant malfunctions and occasional mechanical breakdowns.
Several elevators throughout various academic buildings and other structures have experienced issues, including one in Sondheim Hall and another in the Walker Avenue parking garage which was taken out of service earlier this year for unscheduled maintenance.
Last week, Victoria Skinner penned a post on myUMBC about an elevator in Sherman Hall (formerly Academic IV) that had been out of service for a week, stating that several repair workers had been working on it but failing to fix the issue.
Skinner also wrote in her post that she noticed that various elevator certificates on campus are expired — including the one in the aforementioned Sherman Hall elevator. According to the Maryland Department of Labor’s website, linked in the post by Skinner, failing to obtain a proper, non-expired certificate of inspection is against the law.
As of November 3rd, 2014, several elevators in the Fine Arts and Engineering academic buildings have expired inspection certificates from July of this year. Other elevators, including those in the Biology and the Public Policy buildings, have up-to-date certificates.
Elevators in the Commons did not have their certificates on display as they are kept on file at Facilities Management.
In the replies to Skinner’s post, other students have voiced their qualms with issues concerning other elevators throughout campus. Both elevators in Sondheim Hall came under criticism for their issues as well as several elevators in the Fine Arts building.
“I’ve been on different campuses, but UMBC seems to be the least physical-disability friendly I’ve seen,” posted Karen Losito.
“I would recommend that the campus be proactive in updating the outdated buildings to be ADA accessible rather than spending money on pet projects just to make the campus look good to prospective freshmen,” said another student who wished to remain unnamed. “I would also suggest that maintenance do routine inspections of the facilities in order to repair faulty equipment in a timely manner.”
Rusty Postlewate, Vice President of Facilities Management on campus, replied to the post and stated that elevators are subject to many mechanical problems due to their complex nature. He also wrote that the Sherman Hall elevator issues took several days to diagnose and fix but is now back in service.
Lynn Knazik, an Administrative Assistant at the campus’ Faculty Development Center, also replied to Skinner’s post.
“The Facilities Renewal budget is part of state support and one of the things that gets hit when the state has a shortfall and takes money back,” Knazik said in response to a student criticizing the broken elevators while new projects are being worked on. “I’ve been here for 15 years and we are a lot better at maintenance than we used to be, and I don’t think the amount of money has gone up appreciably.”
Other frustrations voiced in the comments concerned the slowness of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building and mechanical issues with the University Center elevator.
The elevator issues are closely linked to criticisms of the campus for being difficult to navigate for disabled students, an issue which was prominent earlier this calendar year when the university experienced a salt shortage but did not cancel classes following a heavy snowfall.