Photo by Michael Paredes

A view of Rhodes Tower from The Langston Apartments on Chester Avenue.


November 22, 2016

Rhodes Tower facing elevator renovations

Cleveland State University will renovate the elevators in Rhodes Tower starting in the summer of 2017 to address mechanical problems and to modernize them.

Four of the six elevators in Rhodes Tower will undergo renovations while the remaining two will be worked on either the following summer or during the winter break of the 2017-2018 school year, according to Jack Baumann, the senior director of facilities services at CSU. Baumann said the renovations will be done at these times when there are not as many people on campus.

The work done to the elevators will cost approximately $2.6 million, according to Baumann. The cost will cover all of the controls of the elevators and their aesthetics as well. It’s a plan that Baumann said will be a full upgrade of the elevators.

“The renovation includes redoing all the controls for the elevators,” Baumann said. “[which are] the brains of the elevators, how they’re dispatched, how they operate, how they stop, how they go. But it’s really a full revamp of those elevators and then [they will get] brand new interiors, brand new lighting, brand new flooring, so the aesthetics of the elevators will also be completely modernized.”

Because the entirety of the renovations will take place in the summer and possibly during a school break, Baumann says there will be minimal impact on any classes or offices that are in Rhodes Tower. There should not be a need to move any class or office from Rhodes Tower while the upgrades take place.

“Because we’re doing the renovations during the summer, the class load and the occupant load of the tower is really reduced,” Baumann said. “Otherwise there’s no other time to really do that renovation. It would impact, obviously, a lot more individuals in the building if it was done in the fall or spring.”

Baumann added that the elevators would be worked on at different times, so that not all would be out of commission at one time.

Schindler Elevator Corporation is the company doing the renovations to the Rhodes Tower elevators. Baumann said that Schindler always has a technician on site on the Cleveland State campus and can be dispatched to take care of any issue immediately.

According to Dr. Jianping Zhu, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Schindler is responsible for every elevator on campus.

“Schindler is not just maintaining the elevators in the Rhodes Tower,” Zhu said. “Campus-wide we’ve got 70 plus elevators [and] they’re all maintained by the same company.”

Rhodes Tower opened in 1971, making it 45 years old. Although the elevators in Rhodes Towers are 45-years-old themselves, Baumann said that pieces and parts of the elevators have been periodically upgraded and maintained, such as controls and safety features.

Baumann said that completely renovating the elevators in the 45-year-old building will help make them more modern and technologically advanced in this day and age.

“With the demand, the traffic demand in Rhodes Tower, and obviously it being a viable asset to the university, upgrading the elevators is the proper thing to do,” Baumann said. “Especially with the technology that the elevators have nowadays versus when Rhodes was built, they [have] just become more smart of knowing where to stop, when to stop, knowing when schedules are in the building, that sort of thing.”

The smarter aspect of the upgraded elevators allow them to recognize schedules and times “when the bulk of people might be in the main lobby,” according to Baumann.

Both Baumann and Zhu said Rhodes Tower is a large part of the Cleveland State campus and renovating its elevators will allow for the long-term use of the building, making the upgrade worthwhile.

“We still consider Rhodes Tower a very big asset to the university,” Zhu said. “So that’s why we decided the long-term solution is that within a year or a year and a half, we’re going to modernize all six of its elevators.”



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