Elevator replacement brings struggle for those with impaired movement


Zach Morrato, Staff Reporter

   Each of Cherokee Trail’s elevators may look the same; however, their locations at the opposite ends of the education hall make closures even more of an inconvenience. For students with impaired walking abilities, an elevator closure, especially a prolonged one, can come as a significant inconvenience.

   Since the beginning of the year, the Commons elevator has seen many closures due to mechanical issues. “The elevator is going to be modernized since most of the technology is no longer available,” said Building Engineer, Rachyl Whitney. 

    In early March of 2023, the Commons elevator closed down for replacement after 20 years of service. “I think it’s mission-critical, we need an elevator on the side of the building,” said Library Coordinator, Paul Whipple. 

   Elevator closure imposes various challenges for those with impaired walking abilities that rely on the elevator to travel between floors safely, “It’s made it more difficult for me to get around… so the entire time I’ve had to walk all the way down to the other elevator or attempt to walk up the stairs,” said Junior Arhna Baijal, who’s recovering from surgery.

   There are also days when both elevators aren’t operational. On May 15th, the elevator by the world language and engineering technology hallways was also closed down. Days like these pose a serious issue for those who rely on elevators. It not only impacts those with temporary impairments but can come as a long-term problem for those with disabilities who have no choice but to use the elevators in order to get to classes on different floors. 

   “If you look at the facts, I gotta take a long way down, which is kind of a bummer, but I get used to it after a while,” said Junior Caleb Webersolis, who uses a wheelchair.

   While the closure poses physical challenges for students, it can also pose more profound, more time-consuming challenges for PARA Educators, “We have to take [students] all the way to the end and we have ten kids at a time that need one elevator. It’s just frustrating,” said PARA Educator, Cameron Poe. 

   Despite the many challenges imposed on students that have to use it temporarily and frequently, the replacement is widely looked up to as beneficial to minimize future closures, “Hopefully it will not break as much as it does now. But I just hope that they can get it fixed soon,” said Webersolis.

    “[With the replacement] I would think that with new equipment it would be more reliable,” said Whipple. Although, during the excessive closure period in the past few months, a replacement was –in a way– expected right around the corner.

   “It’s [the commons elevator] 20 years old, and it’s been difficult to get parts for it, and so that has led to it increasingly being down,” said Whipple, “My experience is that [elevator repairs] take longer than you think they will [hopefully] the replacement will be completed at the beginning of next year.”