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The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

Breaking down

Why the escalators are broken so often and for so long
A+danger+sign+in+front+of+the+escalators+at+the+former-mall-now-high-school+tells+students+that+the+escalator+is+broken.
Miranda Brown
A “danger” sign in front of the escalators at the former-mall-now-high-school tells students that the escalator is broken.

The down escalator at DtBHS stopped running on August 30 – and it didn’t start running again for several weeks.

“I’ve never used the down escalator, like ever,” Bellamy Crehan ‘27 said. 

She’s not alone in wondering why the escalator has been broken for more than two months. Gus Barkyoumb ‘26 thinks some students break the escalator on purpose. 

“I’ve seen people jump on them and one time I saw someone fall off,” Barkyoumb said. “I saw someone roll down the escalator.”

But Dean Williams, the school’s Assistant Property Manager, says the root of the problem is a broken memory board. 

“It’s gone bad and we don’t know if they even make them anymore or can find something compatible,” Williams said.

While the down escalator sits collecting dust, students file around it heading for the stairs. The stairs were designed to be for emergency use back when the school was a Macy’s Department store. They are located in the far corners of the building and the hallways leading to them are narrow. Students often find themselves coming to a complete standstill while waiting for traffic to clear.

“Like my whole day is just ruined because I hate walking up the stairs,” Victoria Tornwini ‘26 said. 

Crehan said she would be happy to use the escalators even when they aren’t running, but that is not allowed and is strictly enforced by administrators. 

Williams says administrators have to ban walking on a broken escalator because it simply isn’t safe.

“If you go down or up and you try to look at the tread, it becomes fuzzy because of the way they’re styled and it’s a bad tripping hazard,” Williams said. 

So students are forced to wait for a repair which often takes weeks if not longer. However, at Barnes and Noble, a bookstore in Burlington, their escalators are fixed within a few days using a repair company called Schindler. 

“It takes a couple hours to a couple of days, no more than two days,” a security guard who oversees the escalators at the store said. 

The Burlington school district uses a company called Otis Elevator. 

“Their service is horrible with communication,” Williams said. “We are working with another company to give us a contract for the district and stop our service with Otis.” 

No option is cheap, though. The going rate per hour for an escalator repair technician is about $425 and it costs $10,000 for a single inspection. Technicians are in short supply and Otis  brings them up from Massachusetts. Burlington High School averages about $25,000 a year on escalator repairs alone, and the district spends $83,000 on both escalator and elevator repairs across all schools.

There is one question that has been on so many students’ minds: When will they be fixed?

When asked, Williams replied, “I have not been able to get a firm answer from Otis.”

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  • J

    Jacques BaillyJan 16, 2024 at 9:26 am

    And I suppose it would cost half a million to just get rid of them and put in stairs?

    Reply
  • K

    Ken AtwoodJan 15, 2024 at 5:02 pm

    Why can’t this be shared to Facebook?

    Reply