Steps taken to ensure handicap accessability
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2000
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
Disabled students were almost unable to access classes in Bannan Hall due to construction last week.
Recent renovations in Bannan caused concern for Coordinator for Disabilities Resources Ann Ravenscroft when automatic doors did not function properly on Jan. 2. Ravenscroft works in the John B. Drahmann Academic Advising and Learning Resources Center, which is responsible for the necessary accommodations that are needed by students with disabilities. This includes accessing their classes and moving the class if access is difficult.
Ravenscroft made sure disabled students would be able to attend classes in Bannan on the first day of undergraduate winter quarter classes.
"On Monday morning at 7:30 when I checked everything we got the door button operating and a path was clearly made for students to access the elevators," she said.
The project that originally caused alarm is centered on upgrading the lobbies in Bannan, according to Planning and Campus Architect Don Akerland.
"The project is to renovate both lobbies, including new carpeting, painting and lighting," Akerland said.
The construction was originally scheduled to take place over the law school break, which ended on Jan. 10. It looks as if the construction may last longer than expected.
"Most likely there will be no carpeting until the end of this month," Akerland said.
Until then, there may be more congestion in Bannan, as well as some changes in routine for students with disabilities. Steven Phan, a junior who uses a wheelchair, finds himself working around the construction.
"I usually wait for my ride inside Bannan during cold or rainy weather, now I have to wait outside," Phan said.
Although Phan may be inconvenienced by the current construction, in the past he has been pleased with the help he has received from Santa Clara staff members.
"Most of my classes are in the engineering building, so this quarter is easier for me," Phan said. "But the staff is very willing to help."
Director of Affirmative Action Conchita Serri is also responsible for ensuring that the needs of students with disabilities are met.
"We have been able to accommodate every class a student has wanted," Serri said. "We haven't denied anyone access."
In one instance the university had special equipment designed for a video production class in order to suit the needs of one particular student.
"We built a special headset for her," Serri said. "We will do whatever we need to do." Serri is especially excited by the student response she has been getting.
Serri sent out a memo about ramps being blocked by bicycles and was elated with the response.
"The problem stopped - Students just weren't aware," Serri said.
Hopefully with the current construction and other university plans beginning this year, more students will become aware of the needs of students with disabilities.
"Once the university community understands the need, they are willing to help out," Serri said.