If you’ve lived on an upper level of a Residential Quad residence hall, you’ve probably had the thought in the morning while you’re walking up the stairs or taking a shower. “Hey, why is the shower in my bathroom handicapped accessible? How could any disabled people get up here?” Conversely, “Why are most of the bathrooms on the upper floors of Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls not handicapped accessible?”
According to Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen, the answers lie in federal law, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Renovations to Sue B. were last completed in the mid-1980s and the ADA was not in effect.
“The ADA expectations were not nearly as formalized as today and thus were not included in the scope of the project,” he said.Buildings on the Residential Quad were renovated later, in the middle to late 1990s, and the laws were more stringent. The ADA requirements of accessibility were met on the first and second floor of each hall. Elevators were not mandated and Hazen said it was too cost-prohibitive to include them.
“But when we have the opportunity, we try to go beyond the minimum required,” he said. “Thus, the upper, non-accessible floors have ADA-compliant designs.”
The bathrooms “come in handy for students with short-term disabilities who don’t want to move from their floor during their recovery,” Hazen continued.
Students also have the option of moving rooms if they are on an upper floor of a building but unable to easily access it.
“We do everything possible to get them a suitable location [if they want to move],” he said. “This is easy at certain parts of the year — very challenging at other parts.”