L&L building falling apart

Students continue to call for renovations and fixes after years of elevator troubles and broken desks

Abigail Duchow, Staff Reporter

The representative for the History department, Björn Pellmyr, described one of his experiences with the elevator in the Language and Literature (L&L) building. He said a couple of weeks ago, a student who was using crutches was stranded on the third or fourth floor while the elevator “screamed its alarm for a solid 15 minutes.”

“I can pretty safely say that the L&L elevators don’t conform to [Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] standards, which would probably tie in to the ongoing ADA discussion that the Observer has covered before. Whether they’re outright illegal in Washington is a separate question that would require a lot more document-parsing,” Pellmyr said in an email. “A day before the SAS meeting, I got a report from a professor that, at some point a little before midterms, there was a student on crutches who was stuck on an upper floor when the elevator broke down. I haven’t heard anything else about that, and I have no idea how she got down, but the elevator is notoriously unreliable – most students will tell you that they don’t quite trust it.”

Issues regarding the L&L building have continued as far back as 2018. At a Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 31, 2018, Associate Professor Jason Dormady pointed out that the elevator in L&L is too small to fit a stretcher. He said that if someone had a medical emergency on one of the higher floors it could pose a serious problem, and even potentially lead to a lawsuit. 

According to CWU’s 10 year capital plan (which can be found online), CWU will be putting money into this problem. While L&L is not specifically listed on the plan, ADA compliance and elevator upgrades across the CWU campus are. According to the plan, the budget for ADA compliance is $200,000 and the elevator upgrades budget is $100,000.

One of the other conditions causing concern was the numerous broken desks in the building. Nicholas Mejia, vice president for academic affairs, said at the meeting that CWU is looking into replacing some of the desks. 

“Someone said there were many broken desks in L&L…they are looking at potentially replacing some of the desks, which would be good,” Mejia said. “The provost wants to invest more money in L&L and the departments that are in L&L when it comes to potentially building a new building.”