Easier wheelchair access to McAllister needed

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Sherrie Shively carries husband, theology sophomore Charlie Shively’s wheelchair and books up stairs Wednesday on the crosswalk between McCreless and McAllister. Sherrie said there is wheelchair access to the building, but the entrance is at the corner of San Pedro and West Courtland is at the top of a steep incline.  Daniel Arguelles

Sherrie Shively carries husband, theology sophomore Charlie Shively’s wheelchair and books up stairs Wednesday on the crosswalk between McCreless and McAllister. Sherrie said there is wheelchair access to the building, but the entrance is at the corner of San Pedro and West Courtland is at the top of a steep incline. Daniel Arguelles

DSS solved problems, but more to go.

By Katherine Garcia

kgarcia203@student.alamo.edu

Sherrie Shively leaves Loftin Student Center at 12:30 p.m. to wheel her husband, theology sophomore Charlie Shively, to his MUSI 1306, Music Appreciation, class 1 p.m.-1:50 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Room 103 of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Sherrie said it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to class and the rest of the time to get her husband situated in a wheelchair desk in Ramon Gonzalez’s class.

Shively, who is also blind, expressed the difficulties his wife has in getting him to McAllister. She has to take the elevator underneath the breezeway by Gonzales Hall and cross the second floor walkway to McCreless Hall, which has a ramp.

But to get to McAllister, he had to get out of his wheelchair and slowly climb the steps to the elevated crosswalk to McAllister.

Sherrie said this is not easy for him because he has been weakened by dialysis treatments, adding she has needed students’ help to carry her husband up the stairs to access the crosswalk.

She sometimes walked backward up the stairs, bringing her husband’s wheelchair up each step.

She said she took this route because coming up the San Pedro Avenue sidewalk to enter through the west side of McAllister was too steep.

The sidewalk turning onto West Courtland is broken and uneven, so people have to get on the street before they can enter the parking lot.

The first floor of McAllister leads to the second floor of McCreless, so people can’t access the elevator from the first floor of McCreless.

McCreless was closed for repairs during the summer, so repairs to the elevator on the walkway outside the building have not been made.

John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities, said the elevator broke at 4:30 a.m. on May 26 because the system was underwater after flooding during Memorial Day weekend.

Kone Elevators, the company that repairs the elevators, came to look at the elevators soon after they were broken.

A sign saying “Preventative Maintenance” provided by the company was placed over the elevator buttons.

The McCreless elevator was under preventive maintenance when classes started Aug. 26.

The Shivelys called President Robert Zeigler’s office during the first week of classes, and the vice president of college services, David Mrizek, met with construction workers later that week.

He said ramps would be built near McAllister, but where and when was not determined.

Sherrie Shively said another difficulty is students occupying working elevators although a sign next to the elevator states its use is for faculty, staff and the disabled.

“You shouldn’t have to fight to get to class,” she said.

“They don’t realize that when people can’t get in the elevators because they’re disabled, they’re late for class,” Charlie Shively said.

Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of retention support services, said disabled student services Counselor Sara Samano requested student ambassadors monitor the second floor of Moody Learning Center during the summer.

Since the summer, one to two students have been ensuring able-bodied students don’t crowd the elevators.

There are no plans to place ambassadors at other elevator locations unless requested, Ramirez said.

The Shivelys brought up the sidewalk and ramp issue to Delia De Luna, student services assistant for disability support services.

The ramp with cracks on the east side of Moody has been fixed, but Sherrie Shively requested that a cover be installed above the ramp because it gets slippery in the rain.

She encouraged students to talk to DSS or Mrizek if future problems arise.

“Your voice does matter,” she said. “Your problems are being addressed.”

De Luna may be reached at 210-486-0022. Mrizek may be reached at 210-486-0937.

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