University News

U. to install elevators in more dorms

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Residence hall renovations next summer will include the installation of two elevators in Keeney Quadrangle as part of the next stage of a University effort to extend campus-wide elevator access. The elevators will simplify the move-in process, provide relief for students living on upper floors and  increase accessibility for students with physical disabilities.
“Our goal is to provide elevator access to as many residential units as possible,” said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. During the first phase of Brown’s ongoing dorm renovations this summer, a working elevator was installed at 315 Thayer St., the University’s newest residence hall.
All renovations being implemented in dorms have student convenience and accessibility at heart, said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. Currently, there are elevators in 315 Thayer, Andrews, Champlin, Emery and Minden halls, as well as Vartan Gregorian Quadrangle. But this leaves many residential halls inaccessible to those with physical disabilities.
Students with disabilities can fill out a Student and Employee Accessibility Services form to request specific housing that meets their needs, but those with temporary physical injuries sustained after the year starts can face difficulties. Madeline Page ’15, who lived on the fourth floor of Keeney as a first-year, sprained her ankle and needed to use crutches for a month. Navigating Keeney became “really difficult without access to an elevator,” Page said. Elevators would largely improve Keeney, she said.
The University’s website features a campus accessibility map that shows all on-campus buildings colored different shades of purple to represent a spectrum of accessibility. Deep purple designates a wheelchair-friendly building, and light purple indicates that a building is not accessible to students in wheelchairs.
The lack of accessibility in some dorms can cause social isolation, Klawunn and Bova said, adding that they are working to address the social problems that occur when certain dormitories are inaccessible to a population of students. Both said they hope the new plan to cluster first-years in Pembroke Campus and Keeney, two complexes that will have elevator access, will alleviate the problem.
After the renovations are complete, “the architecture and structure of a building will not impede you from socializing,” Bova said.