Some parking spaces on campus have been temporarily rearranged to allow for additional handicap-accessible parking spots in the Student Center, rear Pavilion and G-Wing lots. Plus, the Office of Specialized Services has made more mobility disabled student spaces available in the Pavilion, G-Wing and Student Center lots.
According to Dorothy Echols-Tobe, chief planning officer and vice president of administration and finance, the College has accessible spaces in each parking lot, so that anybody on campus with a valid state or municipal handicap placard or plate can use them. The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities specifies the ratio of accessible spaces to total spaces in a lot.
In addition, the College designates separate spaces for students with mobility disabilities registered with the Office of Specialized Services. These spots are not mandated by federal law.
“The reason that we pull those out is because students have different schedules than employees, so we want to make sure that when a student comes to campus, and they have a mobility disability, there’s some spaces available for them,” Echols-Tobe said.
Aside from a need for OSS student spaces and accessible spaces, Echols-Tobe added that facilities vehicles need close parking, as well as some administrators.
“We need to provide spaces for them so they can park the vans [and] have close access to the buildings,” she said.
Spaces in some lots, like the one between the G- and H-Wings, had to be reshuffled to accommodate for the G-Wing and Adler Center for Nursing Excellence construction, which will eliminate some spots. Now, the administrators who used to park in this lot were moved to a different location and the number of facilities spots was reduced from five to three.
“We’re going to be losing some spaces as a result of that construction, so this was a temporary move to address those parking issues,” Echols-Tobe said. “I felt that [in] trying to balance the needs of those with these disabilities and the need to have close parking for our facilities employees, that seemed to make the best sense. I think it helped.”
Furthermore, accessible spots were added around the trailers in the Pavilion and Mackin-Bischoff lots.
“Now that students will be going over there for classes,” Echols-Tobe explained, “we wanted to make sure that there’s spaces available for them to park.”
Echols-Tobe said that while there is always a demand for close and accessible parking spots, the College complies with the federal regulations.
“There’s always a demand for spaces that are close to a building, and there will probably always be people who will tell you there’s not enough of those, and there aren’t,” Echols-Tobe said. “The majority of our parking is away from the building, and that’s where people with mobility disabilities want to park. There would probably not be enough to meet the demand, but we have enough to meet the law. We’re more than meeting [the federal mandate].”
The College has established a parking committee to continue to monitor and adjust campus parking for the future, Echols-Tobe said. The committee hopes to devise a more permanent parking plan to put into effect once the construction is finished in about three years.
For now though, Echols-Tobe said the College is simply working with the parking space they have.
“We didn’t add anything,” she explained. “We don’t have a parking deck in our future plans. We’re just using what we have.”