It takes a lot of patience to make it to the top.
That’s arguably never been truer in St. Joseph County.
In a world where what goes up—eventually breaks down there’s a backlog of elevator repair and replace orders.
“I’m a regular parker here probably for the last 15, 16 years, and during that time the elevator has been probably down more than up,” said Pam Gunterman, a regular car parking customer at the Wayne Street Garage.
Today, one of the two elevators at the garage was out of order.
DTSB manages the garages and Jill Scicchitano says there have been times when an elevator was out of service for “several months,” and times when both elevators have been out at the same time.
“I have some co-workers who depend on the elevator and it distressed them when it’s not available for them to use,” said Gunterman. “They have restrictions that the stairs are difficult for them.”
“The elevators here have hit the end of their life cycle at the worst possible time—in the midst of a building boom that stretches from inner city to collegiate campus.
“The amount of service time we need, it seems like there is a challenge in keeping up with our needs at this time,” said Scicchitano.
In a written statement, Schindler Elevator stated “strong demand” has created a “good backlog” of work orders.
For instance, across the street, much of a $6 million renovation project at the old One Michiana Square building is a week or so away from completion. The workers there now will soon leave–although the elevator crews have yet to arrive.
“They’re coming yep, they’re going to be here mid-February,” said Josh Higginbotham, the 100 East Wayne Street project manager. “They did say that they are, they are wrapping up some projects at Notre Dame. I would imagine that’s impacting their schedule quite a bit but I think the guys that are going to be doing the elevator renovation here are just coming off the Hesburgh Library renovation. I think they said there were six elevators there that were getting similar scope of work.”

Earlier this month, the City of South Bend requested bids for elevator maintenance services but received no response.
As for the parking garage, work to put new elevators in the Leighton and Wayne Street Parking Garages is set to begin in late March.