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Accessibility improvements slated for several buildings

Work is scheduled on 12 buildings to address accessibility concerns related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The project will begin next week in University Hall, Bowman-Oddy Laboratories, Memorial Field House, North Engineering Building, Nitschke Hall and Wolfe Hall.

“In University Hall, accessible drinking fountains will be installed, upgrades to toilet accessories will be made, and automatic door operators will be installed at the main public restrooms on the fourth floor,” Dan Klett, director of campus planning and design in Facilities and Construction, said.

These improvements to be made are based on a recently completed accessibility survey by Derek Mortland, ADA and community outreach coordinator at the Center for Disability Empowerment in Gahanna, Ohio. That survey was commissioned jointly by UT’s Internal Audit and Compliance Department and Facilities and Construction Department.

“UT is a recognized leader in providing a welcoming environment for students, patients and employees with disabilities,” said David Cutri, executive director of internal audit and chief compliance officer.  “These accessibility improvements are the most recent example of our strong partnership with the Facilities team in promoting an inclusive environment for all.”

Enjie Hall, UT director of accessibility and student disability services, helped prioritize the building list and items that are being addressed for each building.

“We wanted to take care of academic buildings that would benefit the largest number of students, faculty and staff,” she said. “These crucial changes will improve the usability of facilities for everyone at the University while providing better access to people with disabilities.”

“Within each building, priority was given to addressing accessibility issues at entrances, restrooms, stairs and drinking fountains as a way to maximize the impact of available funding,” Klett added.

Funding for the project includes $500,000 from the state’s capital appropriation for fiscal year 2017-18.

Other buildings on Main Campus that are part of the project are the Center for Performing Arts, Rocket Hall, the Law Center and McMaster Hall.

On Health Science Campus, improvements will be made in the Health Education Building and Collier Building.

“The scope of work includes such items as installing automatic door operators; modifying doors and door hardware; installing handrails and extensions; and resolving accessibility concerns at drinking fountains and restrooms, resulting in greater accessibility to and within campus facilities,” Klett said. “The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.”

Mary L. Glowacki of Toledo is the architect of the project, and the Spieker Co. in Perrysburg is the general contractor.

“We apologize for what I hope will be minor inconveniences as we work to make these important improvements to accessibility on campus,” Klett said.

“This is a huge step toward fostering an inclusive environment for people with disabilities at UT,” Hall said. “These improvements will remove environmental barriers, which allow individuals to function with greater independence.”