Kent Campus Buildings Undergo Accessibility Improvements
Many academic buildings on the Kent Campus will undergo improvements to make them more accessible to people with disabilities. The buildings, many of which were built decades ago, will be enhanced with features that go above the minimum standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Because much of our campus was developed in the 1960s and earlier when accessibility was not incorporated into buildings, many buildings did not accommodate handicap access,” says Michael Bruder, executive director for facilities, planning and design in Kent State’s Office of the University Architect. “During major renovations, individual buildings are brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The university has made it a priority to ensure that all of our academic buildings are easily accessible for everyone, with improved entries.”
Bruder says the project will feature new motorized auto-operators and handicap push buttons for the main entrances at academic buildings that currently do not have them or need improvements. There also will be accessibility improvements to restroom entrances.
“People with disabilities will have an easier time entering and exiting these buildings,” he says.
The improvement project is a collaborative effort between the University Accessibility Committee, the Office of the University Architect and the Division of Business and Finance. The project began in July and will continue through spring 2017.
“These building and restroom improvements represent Kent State’s commitment to enhancing access and inclusivity for all individuals, including those with disabilities,” says Amy Quillin, Kent State’s director for Student Accessibility Services. “Additionally, we believe that these enhancements align with some of the University Level Initiatives (ULI) with respect to attending ‘to the diverse human element of the university’ and also establishing ‘a culture of sustainability and continuous improvement.’”
Jay Graham, associate director for architecture and engineering in the Office of the University Architect and a member of the University Accessibility Committee, says the group recommended these improvements to ensure that all Kent Campus academic buildings have auto-operator assisted building entrance doors and primary first-floor restroom doors at each building.
The buildings that will undergo accessibility improvements are Bowman Hall, Business Administration Building, Cartwright Hall, Center for the Performing Arts Lobby, Child Development Center, Franklin Hall, Henderson Hall, Kent Hall, Kent Hall South Wing, Liquid Crystal and Materials Sciences Building, Lowry Hall, Mathematics and Computer Science Building, McGilvrey Hall, Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, Merrill Hall, Moulton Hall, Nixson Hall, Ritchie Hall, Rockwell Hall, Satterfield Hall, University Library and White Hall.
The new Integrated Sciences Building and the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, which are currently being constructed, and the recently unveiled Center for the Visual Arts are ADA compliant.