April 9, 2019: Stuyvesant Health & Safety Committee Escalator Update
We thank you all again for your advocacy on the escalators! Both Principal Contreras and AP Brian Moran told the PA yesterday that they believe our efforts played a major role in getting the city authorities and DOE to respond and authorize millions of dollars for new escalators. They also said the response by the School Construction Authority and the Division of School Facilities has been incredibly supportive and expressed their gratitude for how this issue has been handled so far.
The task now turns to getting these new escalators installed, which will be no simple matter since the original escalators were lifted into place by cranes as the school was built. Last week, Eric and Brian met with experts from the Kone Corporation to begin planning what will be a major two year project. The goal is to get the work done safely and efficiently while minimizing the impacts to instruction and school operation. Kone will completely demolish (gut) the old escalators, build custom fit new ones, and then install them in pieces that can fit through the school hallways. Everyone is happy with the selection of Kone, who have done many of other projects in the city (colleges, malls, etc.).
The escalator replacement will be done in phases. The initial scoping and measurements will be taken when our students go on spring break at the end of April. It will then take about six months to fabricate the first four escalators before installation can begin next December or January. Installation will take about six months for each phase. The remaining escalators will be installed in a second phase (six more) over the summer of 2020 and third phase (the final four) during the 2020-21 school year. Eric noted that spreading the project out in phases would ensure that only a couple floors are impacted at a time and the same expert Kone crews do all of the installation work,
Kone will install floor to ceiling barriers to wall off a workspace around each escalator bank. This should hopefully keep the dust and noise contained, but it will certainly impact (crowd) some of the atriums and hallways. Kone will do demolition and painting work on weekends/evenings in order to minimize the noise/smells on school days, but realistically there may be some impacts the school will have to address along the way.
More good news is that Kone will maintain the existing escalators while the replacements are being installed, meaning any breakdowns should be quickly addressed because escalator technicians will already be on site! The current proposal is for the escalators to be replaced from the bottom to the top of the building but there are factors that could change the order in which the work is done.
The current status of our escalators is that all but one set of the recently closed escalators is back in service. A new part has been ordered for this set and it should be back in service soon.