Damages to STS elevator top $10,000

By Sean Noble

A group of about thirty residents of Stevenson Towers South, on their way to a floor picture-taking session, caused more than $10,000 damage Wednesday night to an elevator in the hall’s B-tower.

Stevenson Towers Area Coordinator Jim Rooney said the group, from an all-male floor in B-tower, was taking an elevator down to the first floor. “On the way down, the students began pushing against the elevator doors hard enough to catch on another floor’s door frame,” he said. “The door bent, stopping the elevator in mid-floor.”

The students were able to slip out the bottom of the elevator and jump onto the next floor, Rooney said.

“The accident made a loud noise, which brought Resident Assistants to the scene,” Rooney said. He said the students voluntarily gave their names to the R.A.s there. “The people involved were very cooperative. Nobody tried to run away.”

ooney said residence hall officials were able to learn more about the incident at a floor meeting called after the picture session.

Ed O’Donnell, NIU superintendent of building maintenance, said he expects damage repair costs to be more than $10,000.

“The steel doors and frame were bent, and the doors were knocked off track,” O’Donnell said. “The elevator looked like a car involved in a serious accident.”

NIU will be taking bids now from repair companies to fix the damage, O’Donnell said. He said the whole process of taking bids, ordering materials and doing the actual repairs could take months to complete. “It very well could be second semester before the elevator is operating again.”

Some students damaged a residence hall elevator in much the same way four years ago, O’Donnell said. Repair costs for that incident came to about $13,000.

ooney said the students involved in the damage will be responsible for the costs. He said he was not sure whether the university will cover part of the damages.

O’Donnell said he hoped students will learn from this accident. He said, “Someone could easily have been seriously hurt or killed here while just fooling around.

“Students should also realize that incidents like this are part of the reason why tuition rates go up,” he said.

Sgt. Ralph Taylor of the University Police investigations department said no charges had been filed against the students as of Thursday.

e said, “This incident is being handled internally by the residence hall staff. I did not even receive a report on the damage at first.”

“The state’s attorney’s office would decide what charges would be filed against the students if the Stevenson South officials decided to proceed with this,” Taylor said, “but it’s up to those officials right now.”