BY PEYTON POPP – STAFF WRITER
Centre College and elevators may not be mutually exclusive, but they may as well be. Only two residential buildings on campus have elevators – a fact that the muscles in our calves may appreciate, but there are bigger things at stake than our calves. Outside of Greek Row, 18 of the 27 campus housing options are not accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), per Centre’s website. As a result, accessible housing options are limited to the first floor of all but two of the 18 residences that meet the standards set forth by the ADA—the exceptions being Pearl Hall and Bingham Hall, which do have elevators.
While accommodations are in place for people who need them, it does seem that the people who need these accommodations are singled out by having to live on particular floors of particular buildings. Likewise, certain entrances to buildings on campus do not have convenient access points. For instance, the entrance on the New Quad side of the Campus Center: if a student were not able to use stairs, they would either have to go behind the campus center and then back to the front, or go all the way to the door on the far side of the building. This is accessible, but not at all convenient, especially for those who happen to live in Yerkes, one of the nine non-Greek affiliated residence buildings that meet any sort of ADA standard, or Pearl, one of the two halls with an elevator. This creates an annoying path into a rather important building for the students who need ADA related accommodations.
Another consideration is the location of professors’ offices on the third floor of Crounse. These offices are only accessible from a door on the Sutcliffe side of Crounse located at the top of a flight of stairs and through a specific stairwell on the fourth floor. It is a pain for all students to finagle their way into these offices, and it puts people who may not be able to use stairs at a disadvantage because they simply don’t have a way into this hallway. Even if there is some secret entrance, it’s further out of the way than the already tricky entrances are. What would someone do if they needed to meet with one of the professors with an office on the third floor but couldn’t use the stairs?
The offices in question used to be a part of the Grace Doherty library, but as the school expanded, Crounse and the library had to be renovated to make room for more offices. So, the library was readjusted to make room for this new hallway, which is technically accessible from the third floor of the library, but the door that would give access to the hallway is marked by a sign explaining that the door is to remain locked. Since these renovations happened fairly recently, it would’ve made sense for the college to ensure that the new set of offices be accessible to everyone, but instead, they are a nuisance to anyone and everyone who has to use them. Quite frankly, the more I think about this hallway of offices, the angrier I get.
Centre is supposed to be an open and welcome environment for all students. It does have ADA accessible buildings and the people here do their best to make everyone on campus as comfortable as possible. However, that doesn’t mean the system in place doesn’t have room to improve. As the campus continues to grow, it is vital that the college keep in mind the need for easy access to places on campus.