With a massive completely flat front entry way, push button door assists on every outer doorway, two centrally located elevators and fewer auditorium style class rooms, the new east academic building, is definitely not handicapped when it comes to handicap accessibility, it is handi-capable.
“Handicap accessibility is something we definitely something we took into consideration while planning the building,” Craig Miller said.
Many of the buildings on the Webster University campus struggle with handicap accessibility. Elevators have always been an issue. The Webster Hall elevator is too small and is constantly malfunctioning. The parking garage elevator is also malfunctioning on regular bases, making it very difficult for handicap students to get around in these buildings. So when it came to the construction of the New Academic Building Webster University wanted to make sure this building would not have the same issues. They have installed not one but two elevators in the center of the building. This cuts down on the wait time for the elevators and also means if an elevator is out for maintenance there is at least a chance that one elevator will be running. While talking with Craig Miller, the Project Manager overseeing the construction of the new building, he said handicap accessibility was a concern they made sure to take into consideration when planning the construction of the building.
“Having the two elevators centrally located will allow them to be easily accessible from any point in the building.” Miller said.
Another concern around campus is the longer routes that handicap students have to take to get to classes because of stairs and other obstacles. For the new building this will be little concern because most of the entry ways into the building are flat entry ways with no stairs. There is only one entry way that has an accessibility issue, that being the north side entry way. On the parking lot side of that entry way there are stairs and no ramp to get access up to the door but it is not completely un-handicap accessible. You can access it from the quad side of the door, the reason you cannot get to quad side from the parking lot is because there will be a retaining wall because of an elevation change. The east door entry way is only a few feet away though from the parking lot and it is completely accessible from any side so Miller thinks it will not be an issue for students.
“We want to make sure that we make it as easy as possible for handicap students to get around campus,” Tori Meyer said.
Each semester Meyer does what is called a roll through on campus. A roll through consists of people getting into wheel chairs and rolling around campus to test handicap accessibility and identify any issues and try to get them addressed, says they have taken a look at the outside of the new building and don’t foresee any issues, but they have not had a chance to get inside the new building. The new building is projected to have some classes in it by the second half of the Spring Semester 2012.