By Katie Zeck
Whenever Alicia Abruzzese wanted to utilize Moore Library to do research, work on a group project or simply print out a paper, she had to go around to the side of the building, enter from the bottom floor and squeeze her wheelchair into an elevator.
This summer, Rider has worked to aid physically disabled students like Abruzzese by building a handicap-accessible ramp at Moore Library. According to Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Mike Reca, the projected completion date for the ramp is Sept. 7.
“My roommate and I were the first ones that really pushed for [a handicap ramp into the library],” Abruzzese said. “I really had a hard time getting into the library because my wheelchair barely fit in the elevator. I ended up not going to the library that often, but I’m glad someone was listening to our requests.”
According to Reca, construction for the handicap ramp began in late July and no complications arose amidst construction this summer. Reca also reported that the ramp cost more than $200,000 and was financed by a combination of University and outside funds.
While Abruzzese said she is excited to have easy access to the library, she added that she was equally pleased that the ramp would help raise awareness about the dificulties physically disabled students face when trying to make their way around campus.
“I feel that this new ramp will help others realize that there is a definite need for handicap-accessible entrances on campus and that we need to be vocal about these issues,” she said.
Barbara Blandford, director of Rider’s Services for Students with Disabilties said that the new ramp is a thrilling and highly beneficial addition to campus.
“Any individuals on campus who have disabilities are the best informants regarding accessibility on campus,” Blandford said. “The ramp was built as a result of the efforts of several offices and individuals including Services for Students with Disabilities, Moore Library, the Human Resources office, Facilities, Dean Campbell, President Rozanski and, most importantly, concerned students.”
According to Blandford, in addition to the handicap ramp, Rider has also assisted its physically disabled students through classroom accommodations, class scheduling, parking and technology.
Abruzzese said she is appreciative of Rider’s efforts to make it easier for disabled students to access every building on campus.
“I’m glad the University is paying more attention to upgrading accessibility on campus,” she said.
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