Inaccessible doors a looming problem in new construction

Some of the newly built handicap accessible ramps, designed to connect the new Natural Science Building with existing buildings, lead to currently inaccessible doors.

Dave Rieger, vice president of field operation for Monarch Construction, said the project will be completed “per planned specs and its going to meet all the current ADA requirements.”

Rieger said there are state inspectors on the job site to make sure the building is handicap accessible.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a building must be accessible, but not totally accessible, to be within code.

In other words, the building will be within code, whether or not accessible buttons are added to these doors.

Dale Adams, director of Disability Services, said the goal is to go beyond the ADA requirements and become a totally accessible university.

“We’re almost to a point where we could be a showcase institution,” he said.

Mary Paula Schuh, director of Campus Planning, said the addition of the door openers was not included on the plans.

Schuh said the money for that change would not come from the money funded to build the new Natural Science Center.

“The construction company is only responsible for what is on the drawing,” she said.

Bob Bolce, assistant director of Physical Plant, said a request for the additional door openers is in.

“Has it been funded? I don’t know,” Bolce said.

Susan Mospens, director of Student Support Services, said she thinks that having a ramp that did not lead to an accessible door could be “sabotage” for students.

“If you’ve got a ramp, you should have a button,” she said.

Mospens said she believes this is a matter of allocation of funds.

“If it’s spent on buttons, it’s not spent elsewhere,” she said.

Mospens said any student that needs these buttons for access needs to be vocal.

Carol Maschinot is one students who believes not having a button on these doors would be a big inconvenience.

Maschinot said that having to take a longer way around might mean being late to classes.

Another inconvenience Maschinot pointed out that you have to take the time to ask someone to open the door for you, if there is anyone available.