With new buildings coming to campus, UTA should pay special attention to accessibility while planning and creating these spaces.
The UT System Board of Regents approved funding to replace the School of Social Work Building and Trinity House with new buildings: a new Social Work and Smart Hospital facility, and an Administrative and Faculty Support Services Building. With $60 million approved for the School of Social Work, UTA has the opportunity to create a new design that puts accessibility at the forefront.
The nearly 100-year-old social work building’s design is not the most accessible space on campus. Doors are difficult for disabled students to access, and the brown carpet isn’t the most wheelchair-friendly.
Students who use wheelchairs can even struggle to simply enter the building.
In the classroom, the university has the opportunity to lay out spaces that can guarantee students with disabilities can access a desk that fits their needs. Additionally, the administration can consider adding more elevators to ensure accessibility for students and staff alike.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 19.4% of students have some form of disability. At UTA, the administration should take this statistic into account by guaranteeing that all students are taken care of.
These buildings were built in a time when accessibility standards may have not been seen as a priority. Today, with every new building that arrives on campus, we have the opportunity to meet or exceed accessibility standards.
In 1970, the UTA Handicapped Students Association persuaded the administration to supply 30 permanent curb ramps for students across campus. Over 40 years later, our current administration has the opportunity to establish another solution for students with disabilities.
UTA’s Office for Students with Disabilities provides services for students with academic and technological arrangements. The university now has the opportunity to expand on its accommodation with its new social work and administrative buildings.
All students should feel included and safe on campus. UTA is one of the most diverse universities in the country. We should embrace that fact by making sure all students have the chance to confidently enter the classroom. These new buildings and any others bound to be built on campus will make the university a better place. Let’s make sure everyone can enjoy them.
The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; multimedia editor Anna Geyer; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; news reporter David Silva and copy editor Andrew Walter.