Texas State facilities should be made more accessible to students, faculty and staff members who have disabilities and illnesses that may hinder their mobility around campus.
Students, faculty and staff members who have disabilities and illnesses that restrict mobility may have a difficult time navigating the hilly Texas State campus. Trekking up the hills of campus may be no more than a simple workout for many, but it can be a daily struggle for those with mobility issues.
Sally Caldwell, sociology associate professor, has a difficult time walking across campus and often finds herself ready to collapse upon entering a building, according to a March 7 University Star article. Caldwell was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition that causes lung flare-ups, affecting her ability to breathe. Caldwell has found alternative routes on campus to avoid obstacles such as the Alkek stairs, but there are still many areas where walking uphill is inevitable. Caldwell is just one of the many students, faculty and staff members who have a hard time traversing the campus. Texas State officials should take note and address this growing issue of accessibility inconvenience.
Texas State officials should look into implementing Caldwell’s suggestion that benches be placed in building entryways, enabling tired walkers to rest during their daily cross-campus commutes. Many Texas State buildings do not have rest areas near the entrances, forcing those already exhausted from walking across campus to look for somewhere to sit. Most campus buildings are equipped with benches, but individuals with mobility issues may be too tired to search for a rest area and often need to sit immediately upon reaching their destinations. Students, faculty and staff members could have a chance to recuperate from difficult campus travel if more benches were added near the entryways of every building on campus.
Although many buildings on campus already have automatic doors near the entryways, some critical doorways are still without this feature. Individuals with restricted mobility or those who may have a difficult time opening doors could navigate campus more easily if each building were equipped with automatic entrances. This solution, combined with the addition of benches to building entryways, would make Texas State immensely more accessible to those with mobility issues.
In addition, Texas State officials should consider creating additional ramps from parking lots to sidewalks and ensuring doors and restrooms are large enough for wheelchairs and other apparatuses.
Michael Petty, director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, said officials are developing a digital map of accessible routes from handicapped spaces, according to a Feb. 19 University Star article. Once completed, these accessibility routes and maps must be made more widely available to students, faculty and staff members in a variety of advertisements such as fliers.
If Texas State officials want facilities to be more accessible, then important changes must occur. Texas State can become a friendlier environment for those of all mobility levels by increasing accessibility through the addition of benches, automatic doors and advertisements of route maps.