University apologizes for faulty South Hall elevators

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A University official apologized to residents of the University’s newest residence hall in an e-mail Friday, after elevator issues have continued to plague the building throughout the year.

Mechanical issues have caused elevators in South Hall to be out of commission for several days at a time, resulting in long wait times, late arrivals to class and multiple students stuck in elevators. Last week, two of the hall’s three elevators were out of service from Wednesday to Friday. Problems have stemmed from the elevators’ initial installation, according to an e-mail sent from Thomas Dwyer, the managing director of Residential Property Management.

“On behalf of the many GW officials working on this issue, I am writing to apologize for the inconveniences you have experienced from the faulty operation of South Hall’s elevators,” Dwyer said in the e-mail, sent to South Hall residents.

Alicia O’Neil, senior associate vice president for operations, said in an e-mail to The Hatchet that the elevators, which were chosen for their energy efficiency, have experienced outages due to an over-sensitivity in their electronic programming that occurred at the time of the initial installation.

“We know that the intermittent outages of the elevator service has been an ongoing inconvenience for students. In response, contractor representatives have continually responded to the outages and both GW and the contractor are treating this situation with the upmost care,” she said.

Dwyer said in the e-mail to residents that the electronic and mechanical system of the elevator is a new product for both the University and the elevator installer, creating a difficulty in fully diagnosing and fixing the problem. The elevators are still under warranty and the contractors are working toward a final resolution of the problem, Dwyer said.

Taylor Croley, a senior who lives on the sixth floor, said the elevator problems have been a “gigantic” inconvenience.

“In the mornings when I’m late for class, I’m waiting for the elevator for 10 minutes to go down. Even yesterday, we had to wait in the lobby because the buttons wouldn’t work, so we had to wait for someone to go down for us to go back up,” she said Friday.

Fourth-floor resident Phil Bianchi said because he lives on one of the lower floors, the issue has not been more than a small annoyance.

“It would be a much bigger problem if I lived on a higher floor. I only live on the fourth floor, but if I lived on the ninth floor, we’d have a problem,” he said. Bianchi added he was stuck in an elevator between the basement and the first floor for about 45 minutes earlier this semester.

He said that initially he was less than pleased with the University’s response to the elevator issues, but the e-mail he received Friday changed his opinion.

“Initially, I was not thrilled. But I got an e-mail this morning which was shocking, actually, because you really don’t expect anything apologetic from GW. They’re trying. Elevators break and they just don’t know what they’re trying to fix,” he said.

Croley said she did not understand why the elevators were out of service, particularly because South Hall just opened in the fall.

“I don’t feel like GW has responded. I don’t know. That one wasn’t working yesterday so maybe they’re working on it, but it’s a new building, so I don’t understand,” she said.

O’Neil said the contractor believes that the work done last week will provide the solution to the issues. The University will continue to monitor the elevators’ performance following the repairs, she said.

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