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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Manzanita Square elevators out of order after repeated incidents of dysfunction

The notice follows multiple previous reports of students getting trapped inside
Sophia Osborn
An illustration of students entering an elevator in Manzanita Square. (Sophia Osborn / Golden Gate Xpress)

Both elevators in Manzanita Square were declared temporarily out of order on Wednesday, one of many similar incidents since the start of the semester. Since then, one of them has been restored to service. 

According to an email sent to Manzanita Square residents, the unforeseen malfunction happened at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The email notifying residents that one had been repaired was sent at 12:22 p.m. on Thursday.

Manzanita Square is currently the newest residential complex on campus — and the one with the loftiest price tag. It opened in 2020 and rooms range from $1,405 to $2,121 a month. 

According to Manzanita resident Camille Alipio, the elevators have been having problems for months. Alipio got stuck in an elevator at the beginning of the school year in August.

“From what I remember, it was maybe at least 30 to 40 minutes,” Alipio said. “I kept pressing the call button and everything.”

When Alipio was released from the elevator, she called the front desk, asking who she could warn about the malfunction so it would not happen to anyone else. Alipio was unsatisfied with the resources provided by Manzanita staff;  she said that the front desk was unsupportive and declined to provide contact information for maintenance or housing officials. 

“The communication is not good here,” Alipio said.

Other students are sharing similar experiences.  

Earlier this month, Manzanita resident Maurice Chilton was getting ready to go to class at approximately 9:45 a.m. when he stepped into the Manzanita Square elevator, expecting it to go downstairs smoothly as usual. Instead,  it stopped midway between the second and third floors and was stuck for about 10 seconds before completing the journey to the first floor.

The incident repeated itself when Chilton found himself in the same elevator two days later, signaling evident issues with its functionality.

On the second occasion, Chilton intended to take the stairs until he noticed a group of people entering the elevator and heard the bell ring. While containing multiple passengers, the elevator stopped on the fifth floor and didn’t keep going. 

After 40 minutes of remaining stuck, the group reached out to campus police, who came to the scene after some time to get them out. The students ended up being stuck in the elevator for two hours before getting out. 

“We were panicking at times and making fun of the situation,” said Manzanita resident Cassandra Garcia, who was also stuck in the elevator alongside Chilton. 

Less than a week later, Chilton got stuck in the same building for a third time, but it was the other elevator this time. This time it was stuck for less than 15 seconds before regaining function, and Chilton was able to go to class after getting stuck in the Manzanita Square elevators for the third time in seven days.

As another week elapsed, ResLife sent an email on Wednesday morning informing residents that both elevators in Manzanita Square were out of service.

“Please be assured that we are actively addressing this issue in collaboration with ACC,” the letter said. “Elevator technicians have been contacted and are in route to assess and rectify the situation as swiftly as possible.”

There was also a whiteboard in front of the elevators in the building’s lobby saying “elevators not working” to notify residents. According to resident Chloe Thornton, there was no prior warning other than a handwritten sign saying, “use at your own risk.” Thornton felt the high price of dorming in Manzanita was inconsistent with the quality of maintenance. 

“We’re paying so much money, we should be notified consistently,” Thornton said. “It’s kind of janky for the most part.”

After a day of both elevators being out of service, ResLife sent another email to residents on Thursday informing them that one has been repaired.

“We understand that this may alleviate some of the inconvenience caused by the temporary outage,” the letter said. “However we want to acknowledge that the second elevator is still undergoing repairs.”

All this begs the question: Why is the newest and most expensive housing facility at San Francisco State University, according to their website, having issues with the elevators? 

“Rest assured that we will continue to keep you informed of any developments regarding the second elevator,” ResLife said in the letter. “Our priority remains ensuring the safety and convenience of all residents.”

American Campus Communities, the contracting community for Manzanita, and David Rourke of the housing department declined to comment.

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About the Contributors
Jake Knoeller
Jake Knoeller, Staff Reporter
Jake Knoeller (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in communications. He was born in Eureka, California and raised in Humboldt County. He currently lives in San Francisco. He previously worked for The Lumberjack, the student newspaper of Cal Poly Humboldt. During his free time, Jake enjoys playing or watching soccer, listening to music, and exploring neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Sophia Osborn
Sophia Osborn, Engagement and Online Editor
Sophia Osborn (she/her) is the Engagement and Online editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. Sophia has always loved keeping up with the news and reading whatever she can. Coming from sunny San Diego, she graduated from Carlsbad High School, where she wrote and was an editor for the school paper, the Lancer Link. This is her second semester on staff and she is extremely excited about what the future holds in store for her. In her downtime, Sophia can be found hanging out with friends, reading, writing, or playing Mario Kart with her friends.

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