Last October, Baruch's Campus Operations embarked on the project of replacing all the escalators in the Newman Vertical Campus.
They chose to do this project with one of the global leaders in the elevator and escalator industry, Kone Corporation along with the oversight of Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).
The original five phase plan was scheduled to be completed this October. However, due to "unforeseen structural issues, where the escalators were not properly attached to the structural members in the first two escalators located in the basement," the projected completion date is now March 2012, explained the vice-president of Campus operations Jim Lloyd.
The replacement of the floors led to a five month delay in the completion of phase one.
Yet, uncertainty still lies in the air for the March completion date, since there is a possibility of "structural issues existing on the remaining eight escalators," as Lloyd mentioned.
In order to expedite the project, the initial five phases were cut down to three. They are now in the second phase of the operation and Kone has added an additional team of workers.
Phase one began October of last year and was completed at the beginning of September 2011. It dealt with the replacement of the two escalators in the basement levels, which are now fully operational and useful for student athletes to get around with their equipment.
Phase two, begun early last month and entails the replacement of the up/down escalators from floors three to four, and four to five. This phase has increased student traffic especially during club hours, since "faculty, staff and students, who normally use these escalators as stairs, are not able to do so," said Lloyd.
In order to decongest students, "signage directing pedestrian traffic to stairwell "J" (which allows entry to floors 3 to 14) and stairwell "L" (which allows entry to floors 1 to 14)" have been put up, said Lloyd.
"Assuming no structural issues are uncovered during this phase of installations, the completion of these four escalators is estimated to be in December of this year," Lloyd delineated.
In response to the continuous overcrowding despite the two alternate staircases, Campus Operations is "looking to create two express elevators," said Lloyd.
"One that will only go to the 11th floor and back, and one that will only go to the 5th floor and back," he said.
Phase three is set to commence between late December to early January.
This is the last phase and it deals with the replacement of the (up/down escalators) between the ground floor and the second floor, and between second and third floors.
According to Lloyd if no more structural issues sprout up, "all escalators will be up and running by March/April 2012."
Kone implemented the design solution that the structural engineering firm that DASNY hired came up with and then begun to replace the escalators.
Kone was chosen for their expertise and experience with CUNY BMCC, as well as the fact that the "company that installed the original escalators ten years ago," was "no longer in business."
Jim Lloyd also commented that DASNY had determined that Kone was the only "escalator manufacturers that had an escalator product that would work with our existing trusses."
Kone is installing "reliable and energy efficient escalators that will operate at almost half the horsepower that the original escalators required," just as they did in BMCC, mentioned Jim Lloyd.