Hunter Lee | Daily 49er
SPECIAL REPORT: The University Student Union escalator has been a continuous problem, and there are no plans for new escalator.
Those who walk across Cal State Long Beach on a regular basis have likely noticed a uncharacteristically inanimate escalator next to the University Student Union building. Multiple times throughout the semester the escalator has been shut down for maintenance, forcing students to — perish the thought — tackle the stairs.
According to James Ahumada senior communications manager for Associated Students Inc., a replacement for the escalator would cost just under $1 million.
“It’s simply not in the budget right now,” Ahumada said.
Some students are beginning to question if a permanent solution is possible.
“I mean how many times does it need to break down before they realize there is a problem with it?” said Sarah Holmes, a second year biology major. “I wish they would just fix it completely.”
Ahumada said scheduling escalator repairs can be more complicated than students think.
The maintenance does not fall under the authority of most campus repairs, which are handled by the Physical Planning and Facilities Management division of campus. Instead, ASI can only fix the escalators through its contract with Mitsubishi Electric.
Ahumada insists that “repairs and safety are the number one priority of ASI.”
“We try our hardest to fix the escalators while staying in our contract,” Ahumada said. ”As long as it’s not Friday and it’s before 3 p.m. we do our best to fix the problem in a timely manner.”
Mitsubishi has declined to comment. ASI’s contract with the company grants them unlimited maintenance during labor hours for just under $2 thousand a month. Labor hours are Monday through Thursday before 3 p.m.
ASI attempted to increase its budget and flexibility in 2015 through a proposed referendum. The students voted it down because the referendum would almost double the student USU fee from $179 to $344.
The approved referendum would have raised the total net operating income for ASI from $13 million to over $27 million. This is the total amount of usable income for ASI.
With the end of the semester approaching, some students are beginning to grow impatient.
“I hate those stairs, so yeah I get pretty upset when I see it broken down,” said Trace Eldridge freshman business major.
According to Ahumada, there are currently no plans to resurrect ASI’s resolution.