SA accessibility representative: George Brown’s elevator record ‘unacceptable’
The level of accessibility of a campus is one of the most important aspects of college life. Yet, at the St. James campus, the elevator-lift near the bookstore and across from the computer store presents a challenge.
The broken lift has been ongoing issue, as The Dialog reported previously in a Sept 15, 2014 article. Almost a year and a half later there has not been a lot of progress.
“Accessibility at George Brown College is fundamental to our core values of excellence, accountability, diversity and respect and fostering a learning community.” Those are the words George Brown College stands by on the college website. however, for someone in a wheelchair or with accessibility needs, there are still problems unaccounted for.
Carolyn Mooney, is the accessibility representative for the Student Association, which funds The Dialog. Mooney said that the lift is not something that she uses but she has certainly noticed that the lift has not worked for the entire two and a half years she has been at George Brown.
“The school’s track record for making sure elevators are working well and consistently has not been as good as I would have hoped over the last two and a half years. Although students notice most of the time, they don’t feel there is anything they can do about it,” said Mooney.
“That lift just seems to be more broken more often than fixed which is concerning and the fact that it hasn’t been working for quite some time is not acceptable.”
At the busy times of the day, the lift area of St. James can be difficult to for anyone to navigate. For students and staff with mobility issues, the broken down lift likely exacerbates the problem.
Hooman Farhangnia, facilities manager for St. James campus, is working on getting the lift permanently fixed by this spring. The college is currently taking bids from contractors to replace the lift.
Farhangnia said he is aware that helping people with mobility issues requires that George Brown makes the school accessible in all areas at all times. He said the college has been thoroughly working on getting this issue resolved.
Farhangnia thinks that part of the reason the lift has been out of service so frequently is because it hasn’t been used properly. He noted that the lift had been used generally as a transport for the bookstore.
Farhangnia also thinks a new card system with the lift will help stop improper uses. “The lift is designed to help people with accessibility, so for the new lift, we are going to have active control over it, making sure that only people who really need it can use it.”
Active control is an access card that will allow students with disabilities to simply scan their card at the lift in order for the elevator to function.
Farhangnia further explained that the facilities department worked alongside SSG Architecture (who also designed the Casa Loma gym), to provide the school with drawings for the new elevator-lift and as part of the service, and they also helped procure some engineers to handle some of the minor electrical work.
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