Eastern moves to make campus accessible


Rob Le Cates

Ci Richardson, a senior psychology major, finds it difficult to navigate even in their accessible apartment. They said their apartment is accessible, but there are little things that are inconveniencing and irritating like the little bump between the kitchen and living room and the railing placement in the bathroom railings.

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

Throughout 2022, Eastern addressed a multitude of concerns about inaccessibility on campus.

Many of the changes and updates made were listed during an Eastern accessibility forum held at the end of last semester.

For the Stevenson Hall entrance, the only accessible entrance to the Lincoln, Stevo, Powell-Norton Halls complex, had the ramp pavement replaced this summer. 

There is also a new design being developed for replacing the entire entry way, including a new ramp. This plan is expected to be completed before the fall 2023 semester begins with a cost estimating to be around $100,000.

For the Thomas, Andrews, Taylor and Lawson Halls, the lack of automatic door openers even at doors with a ramp is planned to be addressed. Technically the door weight is under the door weight required to have automatic doors per the ADA guidelines. Thus, the doors at these halls do not violate ADA guidelines.

Interest in adding additional door opening buttons is “understood” by administration, and they “will pursue” the requests. If added, this is estimated to cost $70,000.

The concern with the Southwest entrance to McKinney Hall having a step to get through the doors is a low priority due to McKinney having accessible doors at the main entrance.

Across residential facilities, Eastern has available shower chairs/benches upon request in all resident facilities. They are put away unless needed and requested by a current student residing there.

Additionally there were shower chairs added to all the accessible showers in McKinney and Ford Hall.

A couple of concerns with University Court were addressed as well.

There are only two accessible apartments, both located in Yorkshire Hall. Mark Hudson, the director of housing and dining, said there has not been a higher demand for more than two accessible apartments in University Court.

An approximately three inch step into the pool entrance in University Court was addressed as a long-term project with the need for an engineering report and estimate for cost.

Although Hudson did advise that this project may be a lower priority since there are not as many students on campus in the summer.

The concerns from a student in an accessible apartment in University Court over the safety of the railing in the bathtub was resolved with screws being added and replaced with additional rails attached.

For McAfee, there were two concerns that have been resolved. First with a lack of accessible parking which is resolved, and second with a lack of air conditioning in the building. There is air conditioning in classrooms and offices, but not in hallways.

There was a concern with the lack of signage to direct people to the elevator and/or accessible entrances. Facilities will be providing additional signage.

Two concerns with the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union was addressed. First the accessible entrance ramp on the West side of the East tower is too steep. This is a project expected to be done before the 2023 fall semester begins.

The second concern of the elevator doors being locked during Food Court hours has been resolved. The elevator doors are remaining unlocked during Food Court hours.

There were nine general campus improvements at Eastern through the Capital Development Board in recent years.

Following the spring 2022 commencement, there were three concrete repairs around campus.

The sidewalks repaired include the sidewalk North of the MLK Jr. Union bridge, the sidewalk West of Buzzard Hall along 7th St. and the sidewalk East of Klehm Hall along 7th St.

There have also been improvements made by the city of Charleston following requests from Eastern since the sidewalks were public or city property. 

There was additional concrete added at the University Police Department extending the sidewalk from UPD to the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The concrete was replaced and widened at the sidewalk in front of Old Main along Lincoln Ave from 4th St. to 7th St. and replaced and widened along the West side of 4th St. with improved ramps.

Around the fall 2015 semester, elevators were added to McAfee and the Student Services Building.

Motorized doors and automatic door opener buttons were added to Buzzard Hall and the Tarble Arts Center.

ADA compliant sidewalk was added at Textbook Rentals, which created accessibility to Textbook Rental from campus.

A ramp was added to the softball field for the sidewalk paved along 4th St.

Ramps were also added and/or improved to cross 4th St. from Weller Hall to Lincoln Hall.

Broken concrete was replaced at the Lantz Arena drive circle to access the Lantz accessible entrance.

The sidewalk was replaced on the West side of Powell-Norton Hall.

The Facility Planning and Management staff replaced a non-ADA compliant egress from the North side of Lantz Arena.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].