Renovations are being made to buildings around campus to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide better accessibility to students.
The Facilities Department presented a master plan outlining improvements that will be made to bring different areas of campus up to ADA compliance during a recent Steering Committee on Disabilities meeting. The master plan includes a map detailing the different phases of improvements to be completed by fiscal year 2014. Improvements have been made to the middle of campus, and subsequent enhancements will encompass buildings expanding outward from The Quad.
Michael Petty, director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, said the idea was developed to create order while managing ADA projects. The Facilities Department funds the projects through an ADA account that is replenished each year through the Higher Education Assistance Fund.
The third phase of improvements has begun, which includes the music and chemistry buildings, Commons Dining Hall and multiple residence structures. Don Compton, assistant director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, said improvements such as ramps and signage should be completed by the end of this year.
The Steering Committee approves each phase of improvements, Compton said. The improvements consist of any facilities that do not meet ADA compliance rules.
Compton said the improvements will follow state or federal codes, depending on which is more stringent.
The projects are given priority if they immediately affect students or faculty members. Compton said a student or faculty member needing access into a building through certain doors would be given priority, for instance.
“If a student can’t get to their class, that’s pretty important,” Compton said. “What we are doing, in a way, is creating a pathway from parking into the building and into the classroom.”
Charlie Salas, associate director of the LBJ Student Center, said Compton was keen on addressing the whole building, which will be improved during the last phase of the plan.
“It’s quite evident that we will be working on as many ADA issues as possible,” Salas said. “Even now, we’re taking steps to go beyond compliance and be more aggressive with ADA issues and make LBJ enjoyable for everybody.”
Compton said an online interactive map is being developed so people with disabilities can plan a route to class that is in conjunction with the ADA improvements.
The map will include an overview of the campus and access routes for people with disabilities throughout different regions of Texas State. Compton said the map will show floor plans and routes into buildings to classrooms, restrooms and elevators.
“The idea is that someone who needs these services could literally go online to that link before they ever show up on campus,” Compton said. “And, they don’t have to wonder how they’ll get (to where they are going).”
Compton said the map is scheduled for completion in May.
Compton said there’s not an actual deadline for improving campus accessibility because “things change.”
“We’re not sitting around here idly waiting for something to happen,” Petty said. “We are actively involved, engaged and have been instrumental from the get-go.”