When the fourth floor was added on top of the existing building in 1922, these stairs we’re intended as the second exit from the rear of the top floor.
By today’s standards they’re not considered safe as a fire exit because they open into another room instead of being continuously protected from smoke all the way to the outside.
We also have a rear fire escape, but it doesn’t have enough capacity to carry 150 people in a hurry (half of the calculated dining hall capacity). Our options are to either re-route the back stairs or to add a 4′ wide metal staircase to the outside of the building. Both options are expensive.
This issue is extremely problematic for our ability to use the building. See more about our building issues here.