The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Burton-Judson Courts Construction Reflect University Move to Improve Campus Buildings Accessibility

The ongoing construction at Burton-Judson Courts is part of the University’s larger initiative to increase ease of access.

The ongoing construction at Burton-Judson Courts is part of the University’s plans to increase access to campus buildings. The College is including improved access in the design of both the new Student Wellness Center and the Woodlawn Commons Residence Hall, which will have facilities that should meet mobility and communication accessibility requirements.

Construction to improve disabled access in the west entrance of Burton-Judson Courts began on June 3. The University installed a ramp and surface-mounted door operators at the dorm’s main entrance, widening doors, and provided wheelchair access in the lobby to increase ease of access from the street level into the courtyard space of Burton-Judson Courts. The previous ramp “was far to steep for a wheelchair or anyone who can’t use stairs,” said The Organization for Students with Disabilities (OSD) in a statement to The Maroon.

The newly renovated entryway to Burton-Judson Courts.
The newly renovated entryway to Burton-Judson Courts. ()

OSD also emphasized that the new renovations only helped with access to the courtyard, as “in order to get into any of the houses or either of the libraries one must go up several sets of stairs. So while this is a start, we have a long way to go before we can truly consider BJ accessible.” New construction plans are in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which aims to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life. Many on-campus buildings are not ADA compliant, causing issues for students with disabilities.

According to a statement sent to The Maroon  by Gerald McSwiggan, the Assistant Director for Public Affairs, “The University of Chicago is dedicated to ensuring that students with disabilities can fully participate in the life of the University” and is “committed to maintaining an accessible campus.”

These construction projects will follow the College’s set of ” Accessibility Plus ” standards which aim to have campus facilities exceed minimum legal requirements for disabled access.

In a statement sent to The Maroon, The Organization for Students with Disabilities (OSD) said that it was excited about the renovations but “disappointed it has taken the University this long to take such a simple step” as Burton-Judson Courts is almost 100 years old.

OSD continued on to say that it “acknowledge[s] all of the disabled students whose vocal & persistent advocacy undoubtedly played a part in this.”

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About the Contributor
Jinna Lee
Jinna Lee, News Editor, Illustrator
Jinna is a fourth-year in the College majoring in comparative human development. As a Korean born and raised in Hong Kong, she is interested in the experiences of Asian immigrants and international students. Jinna has been part of The Maroon since her first year and has worked in the News, Illustration, and Design teams. She also serves as one of the student marshals representing her graduating class.  Outside of the newsroom, Jinna enjoys working as the creative director of the Hong Kong Students’ Association and the Editor-in-Chief of First Flight Children’s Magazine. Most recently, she published her English translation of the Korean children’s book Dear Onyang
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