A pair of aging escalators in Ryerson’s library building will soon be gutted and transformed into stairs amidst SoapBox complaints from students about their excessive downtime.
According to finance and strategic planning manager Kerri Bailey, the removal is part of a plan that began in 2008 when escalators on the building’s lower floors were ripped out due to “wear and tear.” The plan was to remove the remaining banks when they reach the end of their life and once enough funds were accrued, but Bailey said “the increased downtime and some mechanical problems causing excessive noise pushed this project to the top of our priority list.”
“They are over 40 years old and the expected lifespan for an escalator is usually half that,” Bailey said.
Bailey declined to comment on the typical cost of escalator upkeep at the school because she says “there are too many variables associated with maintaining escalators on campus.”
Since hiring Kone Inc. to lock-off the escalators in November, Ryerson has been exploring a potential schedule, budget and scope for the project under the leadership of project manager Tonga Pham.
If approved, Pham said renovations will begin after the winter semester examination period and be completed by the end of August.
Bailey isn’t the first to note the age of the escalators. Students have been using the school’s suggestions forum SoapBox for months to comment on the escalators frequently being out of service and run-down.
Ten months ago, student Rafi Sultani posted, “what’s (the) point of having them if they are never working?” Seventy-four others liked the post.
Since Sultani’s post, the momentum of complaints has kept up with students continuing to question the state of the escalators. More recently, student Daniel Johnson called for the escalators’ replacement in a post. “They are UGLY and their narrow width causes major bottlenecks,” he wrote.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 26, 2014.
Tara is the former print managing editor at The Ryersonian and a 2014 graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program.