New elevators prompt students to use stairs

MCTC's technical building elevators are getting geared up for renovation. Photograph by L.C. Hood.

MCTC’s technical building elevators are getting geared up for renovation. Photograph by L.C. Hood.

Since 2007, MCTC has had construction plans in the works for the area with the most student traffic on campus: The T. Building. What causes the majority of this traffic? The elevators. This year, the new elevator design projects are a top priority.

The $13,389,000 project will be presented to the Citizens of Loring Park Community on Sept. 17. The entire project is expected to be completed in summer 2013.

The three current elevator cars ride from the lower level basement to the fifth floor. According to Facility Director Roger Broz in an e-mail, two new car shuttles will be installed that serve the basement, first floor Plaza, and second level Skyway only. The Plaza stop from the current three elevators will be eliminated so they serve basement and levels two to five only.

Mike Christenson, Associate Vice President of the Workforce Department said, “The number one thing we would like to accomplish in this project is to encourage people to use the stairs.”

The new design will completely remove the option of single floor trips between the Plaza and Skyway from the existing elevators and allows them to have more availability serving levels three to five during peak demand.

Students on the basement or Plaza levels can either use the stairs or ride the new two car shuttles to the second level Skyway. From there they can access the existing elevators which will ride to the top floor, but, again, do not go down to the Plaza.

“We understand there are people who can not use stairs, and we want to make sure [the new] elevator is upgraded so that people will get service reliably and not wait forever.” Christenson said.

Broz said the existing elevators were a part of the original T. Building construction from 1977. With elevators at their life expectancy, parts are getting harder to find and reliability has been an issue.

Elevator consulting firm Lerch Bates conducted a study on MCTC student traffic patterns in 2006, concluding the existing three elevators were not capable of providing adequate traffic handling capacity during the 10-minute peak periods between classes.

Those reasons along with the current long lines outside elevator doors and crowded movement between floors are reasons why Christenson said this project is needed.

Utilization of the stairs would not only be a possible healthy act for students, it would save energy use in the school.

“Elevators are expensive to operate,” said Christenson. “So much of the building needs an energy, or ‘green face lift’ as we call it.”

Student’s reactions may vary towards the school’s encouragement for stair use.

Student Juliet Farmer said although it’s everyone’s individual opinion and they should have the option, it’s nice to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Student Cody Stensgard said the new plans to prompt stair use make more sense.

“I see a lot of people get on the first floor and go to the Skyway, and it’s a couple steps. When I go to the Skyway, that’s what I take,” he said.

Stairways A and D are both being upgraded with new lighting, flooring, sound control, and a paint job. Improvements to signs to draw attention and make students aware of stairway location are also part of the project.

With the school’s focus on technology education, three students from the Architectural program, Eddie Jackson, Pamela Gordon and Chung Lo assisted with the project and its presentation as paid interns over the summer. They were lead by instructor Tracy Boyle.

Any inconveniences during construction, such as noise and vibration will be considered by coordinating the more disruptive work around campus hours.

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