Brock University located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada took advantage of the recent summer break to improve accessibility by reconstructing walkways to make pedestrian routes barrier-free. The new sidewalks now have embedded textured plates which serve as an alert for people with visual impairments approaching a street crossing. This is one example of the many ways Canadian universities are creating more accessible campuses. Brock University has implemented its own Facility Accessibility Design Standards guide to help facilitate the ongoing upgrades.
Paul Smeltzer, Interim Director of Campus Planning and Project Management at the school, said his team is always mindful of accessibility issues even when routine maintenance is scheduled by replacing stairs with barrier-free ramps, for example. The campus has also upgraded its fire safety warning equipment and expanded the use of power door openers and proximity detection monitors at the main entrances. It is also systematically upgrading its washrooms to comply with the new standards. Smeltzer said the priority this year is to improve service counters to remove barriers to service, and the work is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Chris Lytle, Brock’s AODA Coordinator said the renovations will ensure everyone has access to areas that used to be off limits. “By using recommendations we’ve heard from the Brock Community in the Human Rights Task Force Report, we have the ability to implement specific strategies that are inclusive,” said Lytle. “This represents the practical application of human rights principals, to help us create an environment that is dignifying and respectful of people’s diversity.”
For more information about Brock University advancing accessibility, click here.