North’s Elevator


Tevin Oller

Try to think of your ideal elevator. Does it have a heavy door before entering? Does it have a metal gate that if not shut, the elevator will not work? Does it have a need for a special key to access? Does it creek?

If this isn’t your idea of an ideal elevator then North’s elevator definitely isn’t ideal. Not only is it not ideal to the mind of people who aren’t handicapped, it really isn’t ideal for handicapped students.

Take North alumni Ricky Hernandez for example. Hernandez is crippled by Cerebral Palsy to a hand controlled wheelchair. When Hernandez was at North, if he didn’t have someone to help him with the elevator he couldn’t get anywhere, much less in the elevator. The elevator is hard to get into for people that actually need to use it. The reason that the elevator is hard to get into comes down to it’s exterior door, a door that is easily 10 plus pounds.

Before the door is even open though just waiting for it to get to the level can be an interesting time. The elevator isn’t the fastest but when someone leaves the gate open then that wait can be much longer.

Besides just the door there are actual keys needed to access the elevator which makes a lot of sense. The only problem with this is that when the keys are placed in to turn they aren’t always the easiest to actually turn.

Once the door is open, the rider meets the gate, a gate that’s easy enough to open but definitely not fun when in a wheelchair. What makes a wheelchair different you might ask? Well, it comes down to the fact that even though it is taken for granted the legs are the heavy lifters of actually opening doors.

Inside the elevator is fine, great space and the same key system, which again will have a little bit of trouble in the turning process. It’s once on the elevator that will creep people out. Really it’s not that bad once gotten used to, but at first the sound is like the raising platform from an old stage to raise the actor or actress up for their role.

The process is then completed to get out but no keys are used on exit.

Yes, the elevator is used by staff to move items but does that mean not at least alleviating some pains for handicapped students.

There are a few things that might be looked into for change that would greatly help the handicapped students who have to ride the elevator. First is somehow having an automatic switch or something that closes the inner gate once the exterior door closes or a key is turned. The issue of someone leaving open the door has been the biggest problem when dealing with the elevator. The second idea is to somehow lighten the door, if only a few pounds are gone then it makes life easier for everyone. A lesser fix is to make the key turnings easier to operate. The last idea is maybe upgrading the lift, this is the one that would probably just be better to change out the system. The reason for the upgrade is that the elevator seems to be having more unintended stops than previous years.

The last time the elevator was redone was in 1997, it’s time to upgrade it to 2015 so that this almost relic of North history can be used by future North students.