The Burns elevator haters
“I feel sick. If you are riding from the 10th floor and don’t stop, bring a barf bag,” said Jayme Boyce, an employee from the School of Manufacturing and Automation.
She said it was the way in which the elevators suddenly stop and go that makes her stomach jump unexpected hurdles.
Legal assistant students Kathern Lord and Pam Kwasnicki said they arrive at least ten minutes before class to the elevator launch pad because of the heavy traffic surrounding the area.
“There should be another set of elevators,” said Lord. Both students said they were frustrated not only by having to be packed in with sometimes as many as ten other students for a ride, but questioned why at least one of the five elevators has been out of commission since September, leaving the area with even less ability to transport students to their designated classes.
“Couldn’t they do that in the evening?” asked Lord.
Boris Dragicevic, SAIT associate vice-president of facilities management and campus expansion, said complaints about the Senator Burns elevators have been around for longer than he has, meaning over a decade of grumbling.
“Knowing what we know now, we wouldn’t do what we have,” he said, explaining that SAIT likely would have used a construction model similar to that of the Stan Grad building or Aldred Centre.
Dragicevic said it is not a capacity issue, but instead the fact that, unlike an office building where employees are arriving and departing at various times during the day, students all seem to arrive ten minutes before the beginning of their class, every hour on the hour.
Dragicevic said the new buildings, such as the Stan Grad building and the Johnson Cobbe Energy Centre are built so that the lower levels are dedicated to classrooms, while the higher levels are reserved for administration and instructor offices, thereby alleviating a great deal of the pressure felt on the elevator and escalator systems. It is a building style that SAIT is slowly looking at implementing to the Burns building over the next five to 10 years.
“HR [human resources] is on the 10th floor, corporate and marketing are on the 11th floor. Now we just need to renovate seven, eight and nine,” he said.
The high volume and heavy use of the elevators is why some of the elevators have been temporarily closed as the “wear and tear” the Burns elevators contend with is on a completely different level than a typical office structure.
Dagicevic explained that the panels in the elevators have been damaged to the point where they need to be replaced because they begin to affect the electronics of the elevator.
“They are not unsafe, but it just causes them not to operate.”
Academic chair for Graphic Communication and Print Technology and New Media Productions Gerald Flim called the congestion of the Burns elevators, “worse than the C-train.”
He said that students enrolled in classes on the eighth and ninth floors have a legitimate reason to use the elevators, but highly recommended those who only have to travel one or two levels to kindly take the stairs.
“That would definitely ease some of the congestion,” said Flim.
Although Dragicevic said he would be thrilled to see changes implemented to the current Burns structure, he is not going to guarantee anything because of the number of projects already on the SAIT palette. In the meantime, he offered advice to all elevator users.
“Be patient, be smart, and understand that everyone else is trying to get to somewhere else the same as you are.”