A long way up

Illustration: Maria Salvador


The Grand Staircase, leading to the Art Hill, shows little mercy to those who must climb it, and even less to those who are physically disabled.

The Special Services Student Handbook states that all students with disabilities must meet the same academic and other requirements as non-disabled students.

This includes getting to classes.

The Art Hill should be compliant with ramps and elevators for students who have mobility and physical disabilities.

Some of these students who are coming from or going to other classes on campus must take a longer route because they are unable to ascend or descend the staircase.

For disabled students with vehicles, there is a ramp that leads to the dirt lot beneath the performing arts center. However the lot only provides two handicap parking spaces.

From the Mall, the alternative route is up Brahma Drive and Stadium Way. Even though there aren’t any stairs to avoid, it still has a bit of an incline that could be dangerous for those who aren’t riding in the shuttle bus, which also takes disabled students.

According to the President’s First Monday Report for November, a design-build project has been proposed to function as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pathway from the mall to the visual and performing arts complex at the top of the hill. It is the future Digital Arts and Media Building, which is scheduled to take the place of our current library.

However, there is currently a budget issue that delays this project.

It’s a costly one, a 25 to 30 percent over the $38 million budget issue.

The Pierce College Council is scheduled to review this building Thursday.

So while the big dogs are trying to figure things out, these students need to find a better way to get to class.

For now, students have to rely on each other.

If they happen to be running a bit behind schedule, they could ask a friend to help them get to class, whether it


means pushing their wheelchair up Brahma Drive or giving them a ride up to the building.

The Special Services program also provides a van equipped with a wheel chair lift to transport students using wheelchairs to and from the art, drama, and music buildings.

However, since it is college, student services are the student’s responsibility.