Vertically challenged: With repairs continuing, elevator issues inconvenience campus

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Delta College students, faculty and staff aren’t going up.

With the Holt elevator down for long-term maintenance, and the Shima elevator regularly breaking, disabled students are finding it hard to get to class.

In addition, programs that utilize the elevators are at a disadvantage, including classes in culinary arts and fashion.

The culinary class is located in Shima 301.

“We have probably five huge sheet racks that we take downstairs probably Tuesday through Thursday so with the elevators out it’s really hard,” said Caitlin Baird, a culinary arts student.

Robert Halabicky, the baking and pastry instructor, said elevator outages have forced students to carry down tubs of dough, carts and other heavy equipment weighing more than 50 pounds.

The elevators also become a safety concern when the doors close on students or doesn’t open the door at all.

“There’s been a couple times when the elevator stops a couple inches short either above the floor or below the floor,” said Halabicky.

With the fashion program located right next-door, students in the class face similar situations.

The class can’t be moved because of sewing machines and other equipment can’t be easily transported.

“We have a lot of things that we need to bring to the class like bags and boxes and every time we go [to the elevator] it has the sign that says out of order,” said Arlene Vieira, a fashion student.

Jill Oyoung, one of the fashion professors, says she has cart that she takes to class everyday that is full of fabrics, student assignments and other paperwork.

Last week she was stuck on the first floor of Shima until one of her students helped her carry her cart up to the third floor.

“It’s upsetting because we are trying to build our program, instead the students can even make it to class,” said Oyoung.

Delta’s elevators have had refurbishments and maintenance issues for years.

“I’m pretty disappointed with the administration. I feel the administration is hiding behind Kathy Roach. I mean somebody has to take responsibility,” said Halabicky.

Roach is the Measure L Bond Program Manager for the college. She responded to a campus email addressing the issues in early March.

Measure L is the $250 million bond measure passed in 2003. Money from the bond is funding the repair of the elevators.

Gerardo Calderon, vice president of operations for the college, regularly updates the campus on issues involving the elevators.

“We are all concerned about the direct impact of the elevator failures,” he wrote in March 8 email to campus.

Work is expected to continue until June.

“This has been ongoing with several buildings. I have been here for, I think, eight years. And the whole eight years that I’ve been here there have been elevator problems,” said Oyoung.

The Holt elevator is currently down. The Shima elevator had another maintenance check on March 11. The Locke elevator was down Wednesday as well for a short time.

“After one time you think that they could fix it, so I don’t understand. I feel like we have an inferior elevator company whose just making money off us,” said Oyoung.