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How Safe Are the Elevators at FCC?

Story By: Paige Cervantes, Reporter

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Are you worried about your safety when riding in elevators at Fresno City College?

If you are, you are not alone.

Several students interviewed for this story expressed concern about the safety of the elevators in many buildings on campus.

For some students, instructors and other FCC employees, especially those with disabilities, riding in elevators is the only way to get up and down to their various classes and assignments.

Brianna Vargas, 21, a FCC student and first-time mother, said she rides the elevators out of necessity.

“It’s hard for me to carry my son in his stroller and hold his diaper bag up the stairs,”  Vargas said. “So I feel obligated to take the elevators.”

Recently, maintenance certificates displayed in elevators on the FCC campus showed their inspection and renewals had expired.  On Nov. 6, 2017, the certificate in the elevator in Bookstore building showed an expiration date of Sept.13, 2017. It has since been replaced with a current certificate.

Leroy Bib, director of maintenance and operations for the State Center Community College District, said expiration dates do not necessarily mean the elevators are not in good order.

Inspection certificates or permits posted in the elevators are done on time and reported to the State of California by our elevator service company,” Bib said. “There can be a delay in SCCCD receiving the new permits from the state sometimes. They often arrive up to a month after the expiration date and are posted in the elevators as soon as we receive them.

Still, students voiced concerns beyond the expired permits.

“I noticed that the elevators make weird sounds and the doors crack open while the elevators are still in motion,” Vargas said. “This makes me worried not only for my safety, but my son’s as well.”

Christopher Washington, a student at FCC, also said he feels the elevators are unsafe.

“I feel as if I could take the stairs and make it to my destination faster than the elevator,” he said.

Washington also said most elevators on campus seem the same, except for the one in the Old Administration Building.

“I’ve been on all of the elevators at FCC and the one in the OAB is by far the best one. This makes me confused to why they don’t all operate and look like that one.”

Bib said the college has approved a contract that “includes both mechanical and interior improvements to the elevators in the Social Science and Business Education buildings” to take place in the summer of 2018, in order to minimize impacts to the campus.

“Safety and access is paramount,” Bib said. “Consequently, our priority is to ensure that our elevators are mechanically sound and in safe operating condition.”

Another inconvenience regarding the elevators, is where they are located.  For example, the Art Building does not have an elevator but is connected to the Music and Speech Building which has one.

Students must enter through the Music and Speech Building and cross to the opposite side to get to the Art Building making it difficult for students, instructors or FCC employees who need to get to a classroom on the top floor of the Art Building.

“Because I’m limited on time, I take the elevators to get to my classes,” Austin Orozco, 22, a student, said. “But I end up wasting more time having to walk further in the opposite direction.” He said he believes every building on the FCC campus should have an elevator.

“It’s a real inconvenience for me,” Orozco said, “and I can’t imagine how the people who are forced to depend on the elevators deal with it.”

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How Safe Are the Elevators at FCC?