Over the course of this summer, one of the main topics I have been covering is the importance of elevator maintenance and upkeep. This is especially important during the hotter months, when power outages or “brown-outs” cause elevators to stall and sometimes remain stuck for hours in the shaft. There are also issues with buildings that cannot comply fully with Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires handicapped access in most buildings around the country.
As public buildings across the country start new restoration projects, sometimes elevators are left out of the planning and process. However, this is not true in Nebraska, where the State Capitol is getting a modern addition to its completed restoration. According to the Lincoln Journal Star:
“Lincoln’s tallest building is about to begin a two-year, $3.7 million elevator renovation project. No, the four elevators in the state Capitol tower won’t get bigger, for those of you who avoid going to the 14th floor for fear claustrophobia might overtake you. But the 30-year-old elevators — which measure about 4 1/2 feet by 5 feet wide — will get updated machinery, controls and technology, Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley told the Nebraska Capitol Commission on Tuesday.”
One of the major reasons for the update – according to the story – is the difficulty that staff has had finding replacement parts for the older lift models, which have been around for several decades. The biggest change will not be new elevator cabins, but the actual control panels within these commercial elevators. Even though they won’t be changed to accommodate the current disability standards, the constraints are not terrible:
“The elevators will not be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said, because of the limitations of their location around the edges of the rotunda and historic architectural features. Most standard-sized wheelchairs can fit into the cabs, however, they cannot turn around once inside.”