Eating at the Derby Dining Center will soon become easier for students with limited physical mobility with a new elevator to help qualified students access the second floor of the dining center.
“We needed to have more, easier access to the dining opportunities on the second floor,” said Mary Molt, assistant director of Housing and Dining Services.
The elevator will replace the two existing pathways of motorized access to the second floor.
“We have had the elevator that we also use for carrying supplies between stories, but it’s unhandy for students. It doesn’t allow them to get to the lines easily,” Molt said. “In addition, on one exit, we do have a platform lift. It is not easy to use, however. We needed to do some repairs.”
The elevator will be available for students with limited mobility due to permanent physical disabilities or temporary injuries. Access will be granted through K-State ID cards.
“Students that have a need for it can have their card made for access to use the elevator,” Molt said. “We want it to be convenient for the students.”
The Derby Dining Center is one of three dining centers on campus. At Van Zile Dining Center, which primarily serves students in the Strong Complex, all food services are on the ground level.
There is also an elevator located at the Kramer Dining Center, which mainly serves students living in Goodnow and Marlatt Halls.
It is important for each dining hall to be accessible for all students, including those with limited mobility, Molt said.
“There are handicapped rooms in every complex, so they can choose to live anywhere,” Molt said. “Sometimes they choose [where] to live depending on how close they are to the buildings with their majors, so the number of students in each complex changes sometimes.”
The new elevator must pass inspections, but is expected to be open in the near future, Molt said.
K-State residence halls and dining centers are under the administration of K-State Housing and Dining. The other buildings on campus are under the administration of the Division of Facilities. Campus-wide, most buildings are accessible for students and staff with limited mobility, said Ed Heptig, director of Facilities Maintenance.
“Most buildings have elevators in them,” Heptig said. “Typically, unless they are really small buildings, they have them.”
Out of approximately 80 non-residential buildings on campus, 13 do not have elevators, Heptig said. These buildings include the Waters Hall Annex, the East Stadium, Dysktra Hall, Pat Roberts Hall and Ahearn Gymnasium. Other areas include research areas of various buildings on campus.
Although not all buildings have elevators, Heptig stressed that most K-State buildings are accessible to all users.
“What we do is make it accessible for people whatever their needs are,” Heptig said. “In most buildings, we have the ability to get to any floor by using a lift type system.”
Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson, assistant director of K-State’s Disability Support Services, agreed that K-State is a relatively accessible campus for people with limited physical mobility.
“It’s a group effort. It’s not just our office, but the facility, too,” Maseberg-Tomlinson said. “If something does come up, it’s handled on a case-by-case basis. Whenever any concern comes up, we work to take care of them.”
The office of Disability Support Services helps to provide assistance to students with a variety of disabilities and serves as an advocate for disabled students on campus.
At the Derby Dining Center, Molt feels the elevator will better serve students with limited mobility.
“I think that we try in lots of different ways to be really accessible to students. It is their home away from home, and our job is to help make them successful in college. Hopefully this will be a step to help students who need help and access to the second floor easier than before,” Molt said.
Overall, Molt is ready for the new installment.
“We are excited to have it. It’s been long overdue,” Molt said.