Escalator at VCC on the way out

Published 9:00 am Monday, December 12, 2016

The escalator in the Vicksburg Convention Center, which has been a problem for city officials for years, will be removed and replaced with a staircase.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday approved an agreement with Dale Partners, a Jackson architectural firm, to evaluate the convention center and determine a design for the stairway.

The decision to install the stairs came after discussion between the board and convention center director Annette Kirklin over whether to keep the escalator and either replace it or renovate it.

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She said it costs between $1,400 to $1,500 a month to maintain the machine. The city recently spent $1,800 in repairs to the escalator.

“We pray over that piece of equipment every time when we have heavy traffic,” Kirklin said. “It’s very dangerous to have something that’s mediocre, because it is people’s lives that we have to look out over, and that’s our responsibility in that building.”

The escalator, she said, was a convenience and not a necessity.

Nancy Thomas pointed out the center had an elevator for people who either could not or did not want to use the stairs.

“I don’t think it’s an inconvenience to walk, especially when we want to promote more exercise and physical fitness,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “Personally, I would love to go to stairs.”

Thomas said the architects recommended two options: remove the escalator and build the staircase, which could reduce the amount of use of convention center facilities, or build a tower inside the building’s southwest corner and remove the escalator and eliminate down time at the center.

Kirklin said the stair tower could also be used with the escalator as a backup.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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