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Updated: October 31, 2023 @ 9:48 am
As Longwood University Facilities Department records state, 57 work orders were submitted from September 2022 to March 2023 regarding the 48 elevators located across Longwood’s campus and associated properties.
This number of work orders has increased from the February 2022 to August 2022 interval with 30 work orders for the same 48 elevators, including six located off campus in Longwood-managed housing at the Landings and Lancer Park and two located at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts. For the September 2022 to March 2023 interval, Director of Facilities Kim Bass said, “That ends up being … on average, per month, 0.23 work orders per elevator.”
Of these 57 work orders, Bass said in a follow-up email that 48 of the calls pertained to mechanical issues. Four calls concerned “lights out,” which could include both the button lights and/or cab lights. Two orders pertained to a foreign object, such as keys, down the elevator shaft, and three calls requested cleaning of the elevator.
To bring an elevator issue to facilities staff members’ attention, Bass said students, faculty, and staff can submit a work order through an online portal. This portal can be accessed via Longwood’s housing webpage on the official university website. Once a work order is submitted, the process of responding to a call and repairing the elevator depends on the severity of the situation, said Bass. If an individual is trapped in the elevator, maintenance crews from a contracted elevator company, TK Elevator (TKE), must be onsite within one hour of the initial call. The TKE maintenance workers who attend to Longwood’s elevator concerns travel from Roanoke.
For more routine situations, including blown light bulbs or lost keys in the elevator shaft, Bass said the order is transferred to Longwood electricians. “Once it’s [the work order] assigned, they are there within 30 minutes.” These electricians then investigate the elevator to determine whether they can repair the issue or if TKE must complete the service.
“The speed of completion is based on … the elevator type, the age of the elevator, and the pieces and parts to be able to do the repair,” said Bass. “Elevators are on the priority list in general.”
Along with maintenance conducted by Longwood electricians, Bass said the facilities department also has an annual contract with one primary elevator company, TKE. As part of this contract, TKE workers conduct inspections every six months and annually. “We would then repair or replace whatever comes from those inspection reports.” When a staff member of the facilities department calls TKE for a non-emergency elevator issue, TKE must have a maintenance worker or crew onsite within two hours of the initial call.
When TKE finishes repairs on Longwood elevators, Facilities Management & Business Operations Fiscal Manager Daphne Ratliff said the company’s fiscal department charges an hourly rate ranging from $95.00 to $390.00 an hour.
According to the Virginia Association of State College & University Purchasing Professionals (VASCUPP), this hourly rate is consistent with other VASCUPP-related higher education institutions, including Radford University, who maintain a contract with TKE.
Elevator inspections also come with a financial cost. Ratliff said the average monthly inspection cost for a Longwood elevator is $180.25; however, an inspection for Moss Hall and Johns Hall costs $1,030.00 a month “because they have newer elevators and a different style of elevator.”Overall, “for the elevators … on a monthly basis, we pay $10,712.”
Despite the increased number of submitted work orders, Assistant Director of Facilities Scott Cheek emphasizes the safety of Longwood’s elevators. “Elevators are extremely stringent on their inspections. During construction … even the contractor who is installing it can’t use that elevator until it’s inspected and signed off on.”
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