A few weeks ago in this blog, we discussed the growing problem for architects – current elevator technology simply cannot keep up pace with the size of super skyscrapers. Not only are the heights spectacularly large, but the weights and pulleys of the current systems are heavy, putting too much strain on the center of the buildings. A major piece of this problem lies with the placement of elevators, which are normally one of the elements considered when a building is being designed. Luckily for home elevator users, some don’t need a shaft or pit, but that’s usually not the case with commercial elevators.
However, this isn’t the case with older buildings – or buildings that have neglected to plan appropriately. Watts Center, in Illinois, is one such building. It simply does not have an elevator to bring people up to the second floor. This problem is becoming larger, especially elementary school students use the center on most days. According to Glencoe News:
“More than 800 square feet of park district space remains vacant except for storage of 10-year-old computers, empty file cabinets, carnival equipment and such. There is lots of little-used space at the District’s Takiff Center, but the space at Watts Park’s fieldhouse may be more valuable because it’s adjacent to South School, attended by Glencoe’s littlest public school kids.”
The overall lack of usage is due to the fact that the center does not have an elevator at all, seeing as it was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. The article says that this building would normally be used for after-school activities, but cannot because of the elevator situation. A lot of the concern for adding an elevator is due to the cost and building structure:
“The elevator would cost $50,000 to $70,000, Craig Zomchek of Bensenville’s Colley Elevator said. That doesn’t count running power to the site, smoke detectors and an architect to place the shaft in the building somewhere suitable and safe.”