ADA: Is the University up to par?

Patrick Weidinger
Dir. of Safety & Env. Health

For the last 15, often behind the scenes, Millersville University has had an active Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) committee. The committee is composed of a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students who work together and help to guide the University through compliance with the ADA law. The committee is also a place for members of the campus community to bring ideas, suggestions, or concerns about ADA issues on campus.
Chaired by Mr. Lou DeSol, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, the ADA committee meets on a monthly basis during the academic year to discuss current ADA topics, discuss requests for accommodation(s), and strategize on ways to make Millersville University a more ADA-friendly campus. The ADA committee is also involved in training and education to increase awareness of the importance of compliance with the requirements of the ADA law as well as taking steps to go beyond what the law requires.

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) logo is pictured above.

Like most organizations with buildings and grounds that pre-date the ADA law (1990), MU has many older facilities that need to be modified to comply with the ADA law and the many changes to the law since it was originally adopted. Typically, when older buildings are fully renovated (such as Osburn Hall, the new Student Memorial Center, McComsey Hall, etc.), they are brought up to full ADA compliance for the law at that time.   However, the ADA law continues to evolve and so the process of keeping buildings and grounds into compliance is an ongoing effort.

In addition to facilities, there are many other adaptive and accessibility technologies and equipment that are purchased and installed that are less noticeable, but just as important. The following is a short list of some of the projects the ADA committee has completed, over the years, to make Millersville University a more ADA friendly place to live, learn, teach, and work.

Wheelchair Lift
In order to quickly and safely lift someone who uses a wheelchair from floor level up and onto a stage or platform, the University purchased a wheelchair lift. This is used primarily for commencement and special events.  The lift is easy to operate, strong and durable, and ideal for such applications.  Should a lift be required for a special event, please contact Millersville Housekeeping at 872-3200.

Power Door Operators
One of the ways you can see the work of the ADA committee is through the constant installation of power door operators.  Though they are not required by ADA law, the University does, where appropriate, add power door operators to specific buildings.  Power door operators allow those with mobility issues to more easily enter and exit buildings.

Training and Education
Just this year, the ADA committee organized a day-long teaching and training seminar with an expert consultant, Ms. Cindy Brown. Ms. Brown met with groups of faculty, students, and employees to discuss how MU can go beyond the basics of the ADA law and expand the potential of those with special needs.

Assistive Technology
All over campus, new assistive technology is being introduced.  Accessible software has been provided for student computer labs to improve accessibility for students with visual impairments and print disabilities. JAWS, Zoom Text, and Kurzweil are available in many labs across campus and also in the Office of Learning Services’ Assistive Technology Lab in Lyle Hall. A high speed scanner to make digital copies of books, MyReader magnification system, and Braille software and printer are also available in the Office of Learning Services.

A woman is seen on a wheelchair ramp for easy accessibility, like the ones at Brooks Hall and Huntingdon House.

The ADA committee championed the remodeling of a classroom at Hash/Bassler Hall as a hearing impaired teaching laboratory.
The ADA Committee has provided accessible seating and test tables for students with physical disabilities.  The Office of Learning Services was provided accessible testing tables suitable for wheel chair access. Accessible seating for students with physical limitations who require specialized chairs was also provided through the advocacy of the ADA committee.

Access Ramps
The ADA committee has been involved in making buildings and grounds accessible through the design and construction of ADA-complaint ramps.  A few examples are the ramps at Biemesderfer Stadium,  Brooks Hall, and Huntingdon House.

Handicap Accessible Bathrooms
The ADA committee has been involved in several building renovation and remodeling projects to bring older bathrooms into compliance with the ADA law.  A few examples are Witmer, Brooks, and Dilworth  buildings.

Curb Cuts and Sidewalks
The committee has actively championed the addition of several new curb cuts on campus and Borough sidewalks to better allow those with mobility issues to move around campus. In addition, some sidewalks have been remodeled to improve mobility.

Assistive Crossing Devices
Millersville University received an award from the Lancaster County Association of the Blind for installing state of the art assistive crossing devices at the Frederick and George Street intersection.

HP Parking
Parking at Millersville University is a finite resource and adding a new HP parking space in one of the parking lots means the taking away of a faculty/staff or student parking space. However, the committee tries to balance the needs of those with legitimate HP parking needs and others who need to use the parking lots.

University Vehicles
The University recently purchased several new seven passenger mini-vans, one of which will be ADA (wheelchair) accessible.

For more information on the ADA committee please visit the web site at
http://www.millersville.edu/hr/ada/index.php