Movin’ On Up

Installation of New Escalators in Hall Building Begins This Month

Phase one of the Hall Building’s escalator overhaul is scheduled to begin on Jan. 17. The project is slated to end by December 2013.

The Hall Building’s infamously defective escalators will be gutted and replaced starting Jan. 17. Concordia University’s board of governors approved a proposal on Dec. 9, awarding the $15 million contract to Quebec construction giant Pomerleau.

“Pomerleau can get the project done on time and they underbid their competitors,” said Jean Pelland, Concordia’s director of projects.

Pomerleau was the general contractor for the construction of Concordia’s EV Building. Over the course of its 45-year history, the Quebec-based company has built over 80 office complexes, 40 health facilities and dozens of sporting venues across Canada.

Construction will begin in the Hall Building lobby between Bento Sushi and the security desk as well as on floors nine through 12 to minimize interference with the nearly 10,000 students who use the building every day. In preparation for the overhaul, Tim Horton’s was shut down and relocated to the opposite side of the lobby over the holidays.

“The first phase shouldn’t be much of a problem,” said Pelland. “Work on the busiest floors of the Hall building will begin in June, when most students aren’t in school.”

The $15 million project should be wrapped up by December 2013. In the meantime, said Pelland, the university will “optimize” use of the elevators and students will have to get used to expending a little extra energy navigating the stairwells.

Malfunctioning escalators have plagued the Hall Building since it was built in 1966. The company that manufactured the building’s escalators went out of business in the late ‘60s leading to an immediate shortage of spare parts. As a result, maintenance workers were forced to cannibalize lower priority escalators to keep the busier ones up and running.

This shouldn’t be much of a concern with the new project, however, as Pomerleau will install escalators built by Kone, a Finnish manufacturer that delivers about 50,000 new escalators each year.

Two other Concordia buildings will also undergo major repairs this spring. The GM Building is slated for a $14 million facelift. Beginning in March, the GM’s elevators and heating system will be replaced, its lobby expanded and its outer walls torn down and reclad to fit in with the modern looking EV and MB buildings. Meanwhile, netting has been placed at the base of the Faubourg tower in anticipation of the replacement of the tower’s bricks.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 18, published January 11, 2011.