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Dunbar Library elevator project nears completion

New Dunbar Library elevators | Photo by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian

New Dunbar Library elevators | Photo by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian

The project to replace the elevators in Wright State’s Paul Laurence Dunbar Library began in May 2019 and was due to be completed in December 2019, according to Wright State University’s libraries webpage.

“The elevators were the finale in our trio of state capital improvement projects. Over the last 12 months we have installed new carpet and stair coverings, furniture, reservable study rooms, security gates and the elevators,” said Sue Polanka, university librarian. “It has been a long haul for our staff and students, but the final outcome was worth the wait. We are so appreciative of the state capital funding and the WSU facilities staff who managed the projects.”

So far, the library has received positive feedback from the campus community on the new elevators, according to Polanka.

“Everyone is thrilled that construction is complete, and our library is back to normal operations,” said Polanka.

“This is a continuing effort to address some of the deferred maintenance areas of our campus and facilities. It’s been our focus over the last year and it will be in the coming years too,” said Chris Gremling. Gremling is the project leader and senior project engineer on campus.

“The scope of the work was to modernize the elevators due to aging equipment. It upgraded all the mechanical components of the elevators, all of the controls and cables,” said Gremling. “Everything is brand new. These were the original elevators and controllers.”

The project is nearing completion, according to Gremling. The only tasks left to complete are miscellaneous workpieces and painting.

“We had issues of them not functioning properly over time. They were beginning to reach their end of life, so we got some capital money from the state to modernize them,” said Gremling.

All elevators are now in working order.

The four elevators were performed on in two different phases. Elevators 12L, 13L and 14L were restricted to start.

“There is restricted access to the basement because we don’t want someone being on the fourth floor, grabbing books and getting past the circulation and walking off with books or other assets,” said Gremling.

To reach the basement, users have to have a specific key. This practice was replicated from the previous elevators.

“There was a bit of time that we didn’t have access that we wanted so we came up with alternative needs for those who couldn’t use stairs,” said Gremling. “We installed an intercom that was a direct line to the circulation where they could push a button and someone could grab the key and assist them with getting into the elevator from the basement.”

Elevator 15L was restricted most recently. This elevator is on the non-secured side of the library.

“As long as the library is open, students have access to the basement from the first floor, it’s outside the security devices,” said Gremling.

“We are operating back at full capacity like we were. The benefit is going to be that we shouldn’t have elevator failures like we were experiencing because of the aged equipment,” said Gremling. “There will be issues, things might not function properly here and there but we shouldn’t experience that for a number of years.”

There are plans for phase two of construction. Contractors have been selected to start work next summer on the two elevators in Hamilton Hall and the elevator in the art wing of the Creative Arts Center.