Bolz Hall is a classroom building on the north side of The Ohio State University campus. It is located at 2036 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210.
The building itself is not very large, especially when compared to other classroom buildings on campus. Because this is a classroom building, this space is generally used for classes. Bolz Hall houses the “Engineering Experiment Station,” and is most often used for classes taken by students within aerospace or civil and environmental engineering. This building has four stories, all similarly laid out and designed, with tile floors and dim lighting. Bolz Hall is somewhat unique in that – though it is its own building – it is connected to the neighboring classroom building, Hitchcock Hall.
Not all entrances are clearly marked with the building’s name. Further, there is no clear indication regarding the location of the handicap-accessible entrance. The main entrance (“main” because it is the only entrance with a clearly labeled sign denoting what building it is) can be reached by a small set of stairs, and has a small, blue sticker with an arrow pointing in the vague direction of where one can find the accessible entrance.
The accessible entrance itself is not labeled as such, and also has a small set of steps leading up to it. Though there is a ramp off to the side, no direction is given as to where one can find the entrance to this ramp, which happens to be closer to the connecting building than to Bolz Hall itself. Again, there is no indication that this is in fact the accessible entrance to Bolz Hall. In fact, it is difficult to tell whether one is entering Bolz Hall or the connecting Hitchcock Hall. The only sign on this door is one that reads “Engineering Career Services.” There are some highlights than can be noted once the accessible door is reached. There is an access button to open the door, and the width of the door when open (35 inches) exceeds the ADA’s criterion requiring an accessible door’s width to be 32 inches upon opening.
SPACE ENTERED THROUGH ACCESSIBLE DOORS
One is confronted with more barriers once inside the space that is reached immediately upon entrance. It is more a “connecting space” of sorts, with an unlabeled door to the left allowing one to enter Hitchcock Hall, and another to the right that serves as entrance into the actual building of Bolz Hall. Though the layout can be potentially confusing, the second door that serves as the actual entrance into the space also has an access button and exceeds ADA requirements for accessibility with a 34-inch width when the door is open.
Once one is actually and finally in Bolz Hall, there is no clear indication as to where the elevator is located. However, it is not hard to find. Further, the hallways far exceed the ADA-accessible width of 59 inches.
We focused mainly on assessing the first floor. One huge barrier regarding this space is that the first floor has only one bathroom. Though it is handicap-accessible, it is also male-specific. There is a sign by this bathroom indicating on what floors one can find a women’s bathroom, this sign does not have braille, and nowhere does it signify the location of an accessible women’s bathroom. This is a huge barrier, as it essentially requires any disabled female who needs to go to the bathroom to wander aimlessly around three other floors in search for a bathroom. In fact, the only accessible women’s bathroom is on the fourth floor of the building.
FOURTH-FLOOR ACCESSIBLE WOMEN’S BATHROOM
Because our group is made up of only females, we went to the fourth floor to assess the accessible women’s bathroom. There were quite a few barriers, including the fact that one of the two paper towel dispensers was far beyond arm’s reach for one in a wheelchair, with the dispensing lever 64 inches off the ground – to be considered accessible, it should be less than 60 inches off the ground. Further, the soap dispenser closest to the only sink with wheelchair clearance beneath was also not within arm’s reach.
Despite these barriers, there were also some highlights that were noted when assessing this bathroom – the width of the accessible stall’s door meets ADA standards, there are grab bars and a toilet paper dispenser within arm’s reach.
Overall, Bolz Hall is not one of the more accessible buildings on OSU’s campus. The seemingly biggest issue with this space is poor labeling and signage throughout the building.