Newly renovated elevators debut with key card access only


Samira Li

In order to use the new elevators, students and faculty must use a key card.

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After workers completed renovations on Townsend Harris’s two elevator cabs in early January, the elevators reopened with a “key access” only system, ensuring that those with elevator key cards can use the elevators going forward. In early January, faculty, staff, and students requiring elevator access received the new key cards, leaving the elevators closed to the rest of the student body before, during, and after school.   

In an email to staff sent January 6, Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee said that they key card system is in place “in the interest of taking care of what we’ve been given.” 

Prior to the change, students were only allowed to access the elevator with a pass during school hours, but students frequently used the elevators without passes. In addition, all students had permission to use the elevator after a certain time once school ended for the day. Now students will not be able to use the elevators after school unless they have a key card.

“I think after school, the elevator use will dramatically decrease,” said Ms. Fee.

Some students commented on the lack of elevator access after school. 

Freshman Joseph Felix, a member of the robotics team, said, “It is especially exhausting for me after having [both] gym and Robotics on Mondays. My legs are very sore, and it’s hard for me [to use the stairs after school hours] because I feel lower body pain.” Other students have also noticed soreness in their legs after being required to use the stairs after school hours.

Dean Charlene Levi said, “The elevator was never created for students. We noticed that since students were holding the elevator for their friends, those who really needed the elevator were delayed, [hence] the card system was put into place, and the update was done.”

Some clubs do have access to digital key cards, such as the boba selling cart from Robotics, which requires an elevator to move up to the 6th floor after fundraising hours.

Students who need to use the elevator and have key cards commented on the system. Junior Victoria Chan said, “I feel like scanning a key card is easier than the elevator passes from the nurse’s office, as long as it doesn’t take too much time for the elevator to come to you.”

Freshman Constantine Pagonis said, “the elevator rules are fair enough since people who have a disability should have access to an elevator as quickly as possible. A student with no issue walking up a few flights of stairs shouldn’t need to use the elevator.”

Photo by Samira Li