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The words callback and breakdown may spark images of theater kids excited for a second audition or sad to see the end of a show. In the world of elevator maintenance, however, both are terms with negative connotations.
Marquette elevators are serviced once every month with additional safety checks throughout the year. A callback is reported when maintenance needs to repair the elevator systems beyond their routine checks. University records show the cause of elevator breakdowns is most often a result of passenger-inflicted damage.
“Parts do wear out, but the elevators are serviced often enough on a routine basis that the items most prone to wearing out are attended to prior to failure,” Rick Arcuri, director of business operations and auxiliary services, and elevator systems record-keeper, said in an email.
McCormick Hall racked up the most callbacks out of all residence hall elevators in the past two years — an average of eight per month. For its four elevators, each one broke down an average of two times per month.
Coming in a close second was Straz Hall with an average of seven callbacks per month and an average 1.9 callbacks per elevator per month.
Kara Kibitlweski, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and a desk receptionist in Straz, said she witnesses elevator problems during periods of heavy use, such as the afternoon and weekends.
“I’ve been (in Straz) at least three times when they’ve broken down,” Kibitlweski said.
Cobeen, Carpenter and Abbottsford
Cobeen’s two passenger elevators and service elevator accumulated a modest number of callbacks: five per month with an average of 1.6 callbacks per unit. Carpenter Tower had slightly higher averages. For its two elevators, there were four callbacks per month, with 2.1 per unit monthly.
Cobeen Hall’s freight elevator dates back to 1928, making it the oldest residence hall elevator on campus. The newest passenger elevators on campus were installed in Schroeder Hall during summer 2015. Abbotsford is stuck with the oldest passenger elevators of all the residence halls, but not for long–they’ll be replaced this summer.
Sarah Gilbertson, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, is a DR in Cobeen. She works mornings and evenings and has never seen the elevators break down.
“I get more printer questions than elevator questions,” Gilbertson said.
Mashuda and Humphrey
Mashuda and Humphrey Halls were the only residence halls whose elevators have an average number of callbacks that totals less than one per unit monthly.
The cause of these callbacks ranges from tiny accidents to full-out malicious elevator bashing.
“Every year or so, we’ll have someone do something egregious,” Arcuri said.
Arcuri recalled an incident in the late 1990s where a student in Straz kicked an elevator door to the point where it had to be repaired, costing the student a few thousand dollars in damages. Other notable incidents include students stuffing chip bags in elevator fans and dropping gum into the elevator shafts–the latter sometimes occurring on accident.
If the university has proof of a passenger intentionally damaging the elevators, fines can be issued. For the Straz door-basher, security cameras outside the elevator caught him in the act.
Instead of physical damage, passengers are more likely to witness trash, strange odors and messes while riding campus elevators. Adam Gottlieb, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and DR in Carpenter, has seen drinks spilled inside elevators and heard many students comment on funny elevator smells. In McCormick, some students have spilled ice cream and other dairy products on the elevator floor.
“The elevators (in Carpenter) move quickly, which is good because there are a lot of floors,” Gottlieb said. “Such speed leaves little time to cry over spilled milkshakes.”