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June 11, 2015

New CL elevator system to debut

If you’re not familiar with how destination-based elevator systems work, it may be a good time to study up.

The first of eight main Cathedral of Learning elevators to receive upgrades as part of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar capital project is expected to be transporting passengers by the end of the month.

Destination-based systems speed passengers to their desired floors by optimizing the trips. Instead of pushing a button inside the elevator car, riders use a touch screen in the lobby to request their destination before boarding and are assigned to an elevator.

Project leaders are expecting a learning curve for riders, especially during the transition. The elevators, which date to the Cathedral’s construction in 1931, are being modernized two by two — one upper-level and one lower-level cab at a time.

As renovated elevators are placed back in service pair by pair, riders can expect to see a mix of old and new systems. All eight main elevators should be operating under the new system by spring 2016. (See Aug. 28, 2014, University Times.)

During the transition, riders either will be assigned to one of the modernized cars or will see a “Please wait for car arrival” message, meaning that they should use one of the elevators that has yet to be upgraded.

A three-minute video on the elevator system is posted on the project Facebook page (University of Pittsburgh Cathedral Elevator Modernization).

Bill Kane of Facilities Management couldn’t pinpoint exactly when the two new elevators will be in use. They first must pass extensive inspection. Kane said those inspections — which typically take a day or longer for each elevator — are planned for next week.

Occupants of the Cathedral of Learning can expect to hear alarms as part of the testing, and will be alerted once the inspections are scheduled, he told the University Times.

—Kimberly K. Barlow