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New plans to add elevator from Podium to Lecture Center

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The University at Albany will begin work to make the campus more accessible by installing an elevator and ramps from the Podium to the Lecture Centers beginning next summer.

Long terms plans have been drafted for a one-year project which includes new ramps and an extension of the current Lecture Center elevators, according to John Giarrusso, associate vice president of Facilities Management.

“The university was made to be as accessible as possible when it was built back in the 1960s,” said Giarrusso. “These plans will make major advances to keep our facilities up to date.”

The stairs and ramps on the north side of the podium will be renovated to bring them up to ADA standards, while the existing elevator will be extended to bring access to the lecture centers from the podium directly.

Under these plans, the most accessible way for students with mobility issues to access the LCs will be right outside the main library, according to Carolyn Malloch, director of the Disability Resource Center.

LCs one and two will go under renovation to start the project next summer.

Some students with mobility issues have noted concerns with the campus’ facilities accessibility, including Elizabeth McCormick, a freshman with cerebral palsy.

“I had to try a couple of different routes before I could actually get down to the lecture centers for my classes,” said McCormick.

McCormick stated that the door-opening buttons in the lecture centers are a problem for her as well, which has led her to feel hesitant when traveling to classes alone.

Malloch reasons that the university can only fix accessibility issues that are reported directly to them, and that repairs are usually completed within half an hour to an hour of the initial report.

Accessibility has long been a concern for students on campus.

Last April, SA senator Chloe Blaise said the university was not adequately accessible to students with mobility issues.

“These plans are aimed to making the campus more accessible for students, faculty and guests alike,” Giarrusso said. “We want to have as many people able to navigate the campus as comfortable as possible.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that the accessibility project was estimated to take seven years. The full Lecture Center upgrade is expected to take several years, but the elevator and ramps are expected to be done in one year.

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Phillip Downes is a student at UAlbany, Class of 2022, and the News Editor for the Albany Student Press.

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