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October 16, 2017 | by  | in News Splash |
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Library Lifts Not Fully Operational Until October 2019

Permanent reinstatement of all lifts in the Rankine Brown Building on Kelburn Campus will not take place until October 2019, following damage sustained during the November 2016 earthquake.

The Director of Property Services Stephen Costley told Salient on July 17 that VUW had “hoped” to have a lift service for trimester one of 2018.

However information released by VUW on October 4 states that only two lifts, running from Levels 3 to 7 on the south side of the building, will be operational by May 2018.

The delay in the reinstatement of the lifts comes from a “commitment” by VUW to “improve earthquake resilience.” Discussions surrounding the building’s seismic strength have occurred following the release of the Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) in September.

At the time of writing, VUW declined to release the DSA to Salient without an Official Information Act request.

Salient asked about the implementation of specific health and safety measures for students, staff, and visitors, given this concern with seismic strength. Costley said, on October 11, that VUW relies on “the advice from its structural engineers,” but provided no further detail on the content of that advice.

The October 4 update was posted on the VUW Library website and Facebook page, the latter of which has a reach of 1200 users. However, no similar announcement was made on the VUW Facebook page, which has a reach of over 75,000 users.

University Librarian Janet Fletcher told Salient that she had confidence in the VUW Library communications strategy: “The library […] uses the university channels where it is appropriate.”

However, when Salient spoke to students, many were unaware of the elongated delay in lift access. Third-year student Henry Badenhorst Juer told Salient that he had “no idea” about the update and that VUW had “handled it poorly.”

Delayed lack of lift access raises further concerns about accessible study spaces for students. Postgraduate student, Loren Cassidy, who suffers from arthritis, told Salient that the prolonged lack of lift access can be “limiting for people with disabilities.” Having to go elsewhere is “a pain, because there’s already a lack of space for studying in quiet spaces.”

“For myself, it would mean I wouldn’t choose to study at Kelburn campus.”

The stairway at the northern end of Rankine Brown will be closed from October 2017 through to April 2018. Level 0 is also now inaccessible, with a retrieval service operating for resources until November 17. It is unclear how Level 0 resources will be managed after this point.

 

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