BCCC improving campus for students with disabilities

BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Beaufort County Community College is working on a number of improvements around their campus, but they say right now, their highest priority is to increase the accessibility of the campus for people with disabilities.

It’s all thanks to a $6.5 million bond the school received last year to support facility upgrades.

“This is a priority for us so that students of all kinds can get around campus and have the same access as any other student as far as campus goes,” says Mark Nelson, the college’s vice president of administrative services. “We have had an ADA coordinator take some input from students with disabilities and made some suggestions to us, and that’s what we tried to include in our plan.”

The project will specifically affect buildings 1, 5 and 9 on campus and will equip the frequently used doors with push buttons.

“Over the main crossing roads there’s going to be what we’re calling in traffic island, it’s probably about 8 feet wide, so cars really have to slow down when they cross there,” Nelson says. “It will also have a platform for wheelchairs to be able to navigate easily.”

While all buildings on the BCCC campus are up to code, they say they are making these improvements to help people move around campus more safely and efficiently.

“The campus was built over a span of 15 years here and that wasn’t really the focus before the ADA bill came about, so we’re trying to retrofit the campus to meet everyone’s needs,” explains Jason Squires, the director of campus operations.

So far, the overhaul of two elevators is also underway as part of this accessibility project. The hope is that the elevators will be completed by the end of August in time for the new semester.

The elevators will be the first part of this project to be completed.

Officials at the school say that if everything goes according to the timeline, all work to install new push buttons and sidewalks on campus should be completed by the end of the school year.

The bond being used to make these accessibility improvements will also be used to construct a new emergency training and workforce complex, which is currently in the design phase….

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