Group Members: Chelsie Teutsch, Bailie Brock, Jamie McGrath
As students in English 2277 Introduction to Disability Students, we were assigned the task of completing an accessibility audit, too see how accessible a building was to people with disabilities. Our group decided to complete the accessibility audit at Scott Traditions, a dining hall. This dining hall was renovated in Fall 2015, making it a popular destination for hungry students. The facility seats 900 individuals.
The first area we visited in Scott Traditions was the salad bar. It was impossible not to notice how high the countertops were, especially for an individual in a wheelchair. The crocks holding food are deep, creating an issue for someone in a wheelchair to be able to reach the tongs in order to grab what they want. One of the key problems with the salad bar is the risk of cross-contamination. While there have been arguments as to whether a food allergy should be considered a disability, we decided that in this situation, an allergy can seriously limit a major life activity. Not only did the salad bar countertop prove to be too high, but also the rest of the countertops in Scott Traditions. Next, we observed cross-contamination at the breakfast station. The chef cooked each students’ omelet on the grill without cleaning or disinfecting the surface between each order. There was also a large, plastic barrier between the chef and the individual ordering. This posed as a communication barrier, especially if one has impaired hearing. The labels for the food were also very hard to find for they were projected onto a TV screen in an illegible font. The TV also made it difficult to know which food they were talking about. If you did not know what an item on the TV was, you would have to guess because labels were not next to the food. At the end of a student’s meal, they are to take their dishes to the tray station, where the tall platform was moving very quickly. We also found issues with the restrooms, such as inaccessible doors. There was not an automatic button and the door was very heavy when pushing or pulling. Lastly we notice how cramped the chairs and tables were. If you had any impairment that made it difficult to walk or needed an instrument to assist, it would be complicated to get through the area.
While Traditions at Scott does have accommodations for individuals with disabilities, there are some adjustments that could be made. In order to improve accessibility at this dining hall, we would like to first remove the plastic barriers at food stations or make them smaller/thinner. We would also like to see the addition of an automatic door to the restrooms in this facility. The labeling of food also needs to be made clearer. In order to prevent cross-contamination, using crocks with taller sides or lids could solve this issue. We would consider rearranging the tables and chairs in this space or even reducing the amount. Most importantly, the counters could be lowered so individuals in wheelchairs are able to serve themselves in Scott Traditions.
Featured picture photo credit – Mae from buckeyeblog http://undergrad.osu.edu/buckeyes_blog/?p=18177
All other photos credit – Bailie Brock