At the end of May, the Facilities Department and WCWP, the campus radio station, worked together to put a ramp at the front entrance of the WCWP building, making the radio station handicap accessible.
According to Frank Gallow, Trades Manager of the Facilities Department, it was necessary to install the ramp because the station has a handicapped student enrolled for classes this fall. During its 47 years of being on the campus, this is the first time the building has ever had the need for a handicap ramp. The project started around the end of last spring semester and was completed by the start of the first summer season.
According to William Kirker, Director of Facilities, the ramp cost approximately $15,000 to construct and the funding came from the LIU Post Facilities maintenance bud¬get. “We continually evaluate ways to improve access for people with disabilities to all campus facilities,” said Kirker. “The campus consists of more than 50 building with hundreds of entrances, and bringing them all into ADA compliance at the same time would be prohibitively expensive. We strive to prioritize.”
The American Disabilities Act, ADA, is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s disability and that includes entrances to buildings. The act, unfortunately, did not come into effect until 1990, 25 years after the radio station was built.
In recent years, accessibility ramps have been built at the Great Hall, Riggs Hall, Nassau Hall, Kings Hall and Queens Hall,” Kirker continued.
“The front of the building looks amazing,” says Director and Manager of WCWP Dan Cox. “We actually had the student as an intern while he was in high school. The way he would enter was through the side emergency door which is at ground level.”
When the student, Charlie Moerler, a freshman electronic journalism major, decided to enroll full time at LIU Post, his parents made a request for the ramp, and it was constructed within the semester. “I think [the ramp] makes my life so much easier,” said Moerler. “All the other buildings are really accessible too.”
Professor Maura Bernard, who has been teaching at the radio station since 2005, has been suffering with a disc problem in her back for almost two years now. Bernard has to have the assistance of a cane and found it a bit difficult accessing the building until the ramp was put in place.
“The radio station was never one of those buildings you couldn’t get into if you were handicapped,” said Professor Bernard. The emergency exit at the east entrance is at ground level, so for certain cases the secretary would disarm the exit and you can enter that way. “We always knew the ramp was in the works… It just makes it that much easier, it gives you more independence.”
There are other buildings on campus that are still not fully handicap accessible, including the Little Theater. According to Heather Drastal, General Manager of Post Theater Company, they want nothing more than to update the facility and to improve accessibility.
“There have been a few instances where I was called in advance and we were able to accommodate disabled patrons in the theatre, but the bathrooms are definitely not currently accessible, and the University is definitely aware of that,” said Drastal. “In fact, I’ve been informed that the Little Theatre is on the University’s building refurbishment list… My hope is that our building is coming up in the queue. In the interim, I try to offer the best solutions possible to disabled patrons who want to come see performances!”