Officials at Memorial University confirmed that they are giving significantly to accessibility improvement when trying to repair and maintain the decades-old infrastructure on St. John’s.
Several buildings on the St. John’s is now 60 years old, and the other buildings are only a few years younger. Asbestos warning signs are scattered throughout the old buildings and tunnels on campus.
According to some students, the elevator breaks down frequently. Some parts of the campus, like floors of the physical education building, have no elevators at all.
MUN president Vianne Timmons told CBC News that the administration is aware of the issues and is trying to resolve them.
“With older campuses, we face problem in confirming that our buildings are accessible,” Timmons explained. “We are aware that a progressive, forward-thinking campus is about accessibility not just in terms of wheelchair access, but also for those who have vision or hearing issues, and so there is work to be done.”
Timmons stated that the university is focusing on universal design for new buildings, as well as determining how to address buildings without elevator access.
Grant Vivian, interim vice president of the facility, said new projects such as the Core Science Building and the Signal Hill campus were designed with accessibility in mind.
These designs are not always perfect. The door between the science core building and the university center was not originally equipped with automatic doors. However, new doors have been installed since last week.
“We are focused on finding a solution,” he said.
According to a MUN facilities management spokeswoman, the university is facing around $430 million in delayed maintenance, which refers to postponed repairs of anything from roofs to ramps.
MUN’s chief risk officer, Greg McDougall, stated that tackling delayed maintenance is a high priority for senior management.
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