by Alec Burns
Over the past few weeks, the school made facilities more handicap accessible. This is a part of the continuing effort to create an environment that accommodates all students.
“This was an attempt to make the campus more friendly for students with any type of mobility issue,” Principal Rev. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B., said.
Students are not the only people that will benefit from these changes.
Any campus visitor with an impairment or an injury will be able to make good use of this new technology.
“The thing is everyone benefits,” Fulton said. “For example, the ramp next to the cafeteria helps people who are on wheelchairs, crutches, women with strollers or people who had just gone through knee surgery. Everyone is helped by increasing accessibility on campus.”
Students have mixed emotions about the new door openers.
“I think they’re a fun thing to hit on the way to class,” junior Matt O’Connor said. “They also look like miniature pancakes.”
Freshman Seth Deavers sees them more as a useful tool to the students.
“I think the door openers are useful because so many kids are injured this year,” Deavers said.
Director of Student Activities Joe O’Brien has a similar positive opinion about this new technology.
“I think they’re useful, I mean we obviously have people who need them,” O’Brien said. “It’s great for guys who have disabilities, to help them be more mobile and self reliant. These openers don’t hinder any of us in any way, shape, or form. We’ve just been doing the bare minimum until now.”
The door openers were the first changes to be made within the next few years.
“There are plans to put in a chair lift where the History Wing and the Moran Fine Arts Center meet,” Fulton said. “We won’t need to have the ramp on the stairs when this is put in.”
In the meantime, there will not be any more door openers added on campus.
“For now, within our budget expenses, we will not be adding any more door openers,” Fulton said. “But to enable people to utilize the building and make it more of a home, we would spare no expense.”
There are also plans to install an elevator shaft in the old academic wing.
Currently, there are two working elevators that are made available to students or for moving heavy objects.
One takes students from the ground level in Mary Moody to the second floor, right next to the LRC, while the other is located in the science wing.
However, new elevator shafts will cost about $1 million, so they are not likely to happen soon.
“I think it’s a timely move, considering that since 65% of the student body is involved in athletics, there’s invariably somebody hobbling around on crutches,” Fulton said. “The implementation of this technology was a wise move to make.”