What’s Up With: Stevenson Elevators?


Nathan Kyriazopoulos

Out of service elevators sitting stationary in the Stevenson Residence Hall. The Elevators in Stevenson have experienced five logged instances of students being stuck in elevators within the past year. (Nathan Kyriazopoulos | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson and Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon

Editor’s note: This piece is part of  an investigative news series called “What’s Up With?” Fill out the form for potential coverage of a topic here.

DeKALB – Students are stuck with 60-year-old elevators in Stevenson Towers with renovations coming this summer. Until then, students are dealing with run-down and broken elevators.



In the past year, there have been five logged instances of students being stuck in elevators at the Stevenson Towers, according to repair and maintenance logs the Northern Star received from a Freedom of Information Request.

Issues logged in this semester included a rider being sent to the basement instead of the first floor while the elevator was shaking. Another time, the maintenance team needed to pry open elevator doors when the crew were stuck on a floor.

So far during 2023, there were 34 repairs done on the elevators in Stevenson Tower.



One of the biggest complaints Stevenson Tower residents have is that the elevators are constantly breaking down, so the fact that there are no plans to fix them until summer is frustrating to students.

Kaaliyah Medina, a first-year business major, explained her experience with Stevenson Towers’ elevators.

“It’s so rocky – every other week it’s like one elevator gets stuck on whichever floor,” Medina said. “This week it got stuck on level five, and it was like that for half a week.”

Jennifer Mondragon, a first-year health and human science major, also expressed concerns.

“There was always one elevator working,” Mondragon said. “That caused a lot of delays in being able to get to my floor in the mornings and afternoons.”

Hallie Hernandez, a first-year mechanical engineering major, also complained about the broken elevators.

“There’s been times where – three days in a row – there was no elevator, so we had to take the stairs. I don’t want to do leg day three days in a row, especially against my will,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said she felt frustrated with the situation.

“I don’t understand. If I see them working on it Tuesday, why is it broken again on Thursday,” Hernandez said.



Dan Pedersen, executive director of Housing and Residential Services, said the Stevenson Towers complex has eight elevators and all of the equipment from the original 1960s installations.

Both housing and maintenance are currently aware of the elevator issues in the Stevenson Towers complex. According to the repair logs, a service request was placed on March 8 for a survey on all elevators in Stevenson to determine if the doors’ opening mechanisms need to be replaced.

According to John Heckmann, associate vice-president of Facilities Management and Campus Services, the maintenance team is currently working on doing a survey for the elevators to determine the budget for repairs. Once the budget is finalized, they will present survey results to the Board of Trustees to request funding.

“My guess is gonna be that we’re probably gonna look at all elevators,” Heckmann said. “But budget wise, we’re targeting one or two towers, and the other towers are gonna wait for next summer.”

Heckmann explained that his team coordinates with Housing and Residential Services to deal with any concerns for elevators but will avoid doing major repairs during the fall or spring semesters. He said they prefer to do work in the summer and break times so as not to inconvenience students.