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College expands handicap access

Liz Harter | Friday, September 1, 2006

Students returning to Saint Mary’s campus this fall noticed a new addition to one of the oldest residential buildings.

A handicapped ramp is being installed on the west entrance of Le Mans, a building that houses not only students but also many of the College’s administrative offices, the Department of Residence Life and the counseling center.

Bill Hambling, director of Facilities at Saint Mary’s, said while there is a handicapped ramp to the south of the one being built, the new ramp will provide an entrance to the basement.

“This new ramp will provide a more convenient entrance [and] exit to [and] from Le Mans to the center courtyard area,” Hambling said.

The new ramp was designed to fit in with the architecture of the building so as to be aesthetic while serving its purpose, he said.

While the existing ramp was believed adequate and served its purpose, students found it to be in an awkward place and poorly marked.

“I had no idea that there were any ramps or anything [in Le Mans], there was nothing to indicate it,” said Kellie Anderson, a sophomore who lived in Le Mans her freshman year.

The new ramp, Hambling said, is “strategically placed to make it more readily visible and available to use.”

The other residential buildings on campus are not being updated, Hambling said. Regina Hall and McCandless Hall are considered to be very accessible to handicapped students, he said. Holy Cross Hall also has a handicapped entrance to the north of the building near the Security Office, next to the Post Office.

When asked why the construction was taking place now, Hambling responded that it was not a matter of neglect, but rather of finding the funds for the project.

“[College President] Carol [Ann] Mooney and her leadership team are always concerned about accessibility issues and safety of our entire campus family,” he said.