Improving accessibility for a college campus in a historic city can be challenging, but the College of Charleston is leading the way to make the college community better for everyone.
The ISES Corporation, a national facility assessment company, has been evaluating the buildings and other physical property. They will recommend accommodations including ramps, automatic door openers and elevators to the buildings to ensure equal access for everyone. The surveyors’ written review will serve as a blueprint to help the College remove the physical barriers of accessibility.
While it’s not feasible to install elevators in every building, the college must make every program or activity accessible. For instance, many of the professors’ offices are in historic houses, which have steps to get inside. Since the offices aren’t wheelchair accessible, professors meet with students in the classrooms, in the library or other locations on campus. My professors are very accommodating and have gone beyond what was required to make sure everything was easily accessible.
A town hall forum was held earlier in the month by members of the evaluation team, which included staff from the physical plant and the Center for Disabilities Services Office. The panel took questions from students and community members regarding the results of the assessment. Discussions ranged from accessibility of parking garages to creating an app that shows the most accessible routes on campus. The comments from the audience were greatly appreciated and the survey team will further investigate the issues.
As an alumnus and a graduate student of the College of Charleston, I’m glad to be a part of making changes for people with disabilities. It’s great to see the improvements of the college environment, including a new platform lift at the Alumni Relations office, the Blacklock House. There will be a dedication ceremony at the Blacklock House next month to show off this addition to the college.