Sidewalk, bathroom improvements making campus more ADA friendly

Over winter break, Sam Houston State University worked to make the campus more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Two years ago, Student Body President Spencer Copeland conducted a safety walk with others around campus and found many buildings and areas that did not meet ADA requirements.

“We saw that there were a lot of concerns with ADA compliance in general across campus,” Copeland said. “That includes the bathrooms, sidewalks, elevators, staircases and fire codes—comprehensive things we saw issues with.”

Copeland and his team took these violations to the university and worked to get them fixed.

“We took a stand and we talked to this university administration and said ‘hey look, we have problems with this this and this’,” Copeland said.

Completed ADA compliance projects include widening of a sidewalk on the Gaertner Performing Arts Center’s west side and upgrades to bathrooms in the Dan Rather Communications Building. The restrooms now have automated doors and bigger stalls.

Aside from the main projects on campus, other renovations have occurred. According to Facilities Management Manager Douglas Greening, work was done to different sidewalks and street corners throughout the break.

“During November to January… [We] installed a curb ramp at the southeast corner of Avenue I and 16th…and installed curb cuts at [the] music building loading dock entrance,” Greening said.

Greening said more projects are lined up to take place. The Health and Kinesiology Center is set to be the next building to be renovated with ADA improvements to its restrooms.

This past fall, Copeland and the Student Government Association completed another walk through campus to see what improvements had been done and to see what projects still need to be completed. For this walk, they were able to get more help and more people involved.

“We have expanded it this year to include city officials,” Copeland said. “City officials, university officials and students got together and toured campus and checked things out that have been fixed and things that have not been fixed. And, most of what we had identified as of last year has been taken care of or is in the process.”

SGA hopes by adding the city officials in on the walk that more places around Huntsville will be worked on.

“Now, hopefully city officials will get involved with things that are citywide with things the university doesn’t have influence over,” Copeland said.

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