Escalator Project Awaits Green Light

Installation of Hall Building Escalators Could Begin as early as January

Students enjoying a three-month break from the years of construction that took place outside Concordia’s Hall building should prepare for a series of major renovations within it.

A $15 million proposal to gut and replace the Hall building’s infamously defective escalators awaits approval from Concordia’s Board of Governors.

If the plan (see the plan in full here approved at the Board’s next meeting in December, construction in the Hall building will begin as soon as January and end in the summer of 2013.

Jean Pelland, Concordia’s director of projects, said that the university has narrowed down the list of potential contractors for the project to two.

“We needed a company that could take apart these escalators and assemble them in the building,” he said. “We wanted to avoid cutting holes in the building to [insert the escalators] in one piece.”

Using equipment built by Hangzhou Koni Elevator Co., a Chinese manufacturer of escalators and elevators, the contractor is set to begin first phase construction from the eighth to the twelfth floor of the building.

“The idea is to work on the top floors during the school year to minimize interference with [the nearly 10,000] students who use the Hall building every day,” said Hassan Abdullahi, Concordia Student Union VP Loyola and Advocacy.

A redesign of the building’s lobby should begin over the summer. One of the lobby’s escalators will be moved to area between the Tim Horton’s and the security office to accommodate students coming from the tunnel that links the Guy-Concordia Metro station to the Hall building.

Malfunctioning escalators have been a recurring theme throughout the Hall building’s 44-year history. The company that installed the escalators folded before the building’s construction was finished, leading to a lack of spare parts. As a result, Concordia’s maintenance workers have had to remove pieces from existing escalators at the top of the building to make repairs to those at the bottom.

Concordia’s director of projects presented a similar plan to the Board in the ’90s but it was rejected because of its high cost.