By Patrick Phipps

For students with disabilities, getting around campus could get much easier. How much easier depends on the amount of funds Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) receives from the state.
Over the summer, 4Cs repaved its roads and reconfigured handicap parking spots.  Most notably was the addition of three handicap parking spots in front of the Tilden Arts Center. Last year, only one handicap parking spot was there.
“It’s better than last year. There’s more parking and students aren’t using up all of the [handicap parking] spots like last year,” said Karin Luciano, mother of student Shayne Luciano, who accompanies her son around campus.
Michael Gross, 4Cs Communications Director, said the college is hopeful that the state will award 4cs about $2 million.
“The state will give us some funds, the biggest challenge is getting the proper funding,” Gross said. “The funds are in the process of being OK’d by the Governor’s office. It’s a glass half-empty, half-full situation because we know how limiting it is.”
In the wake of a recent study, Cape Cod Community College has begun to address the growing concern and changing dynamic of equal-accessibility on campus. Lisa Kopecky, Vice President of Finance and Operations at the College, released the following statement:
“A study was recently completed to investigate and evaluate alternatives and recommend solutions for paving and accessibility repairs throughout the 4Cs campus.  As a result of this, the campus recently saw an upgrade to the ring road and curb ramps.  Additional recommendations, still pending, include improvements to walkways and ramps, addition or replacement of handrails and other related work.  While implementations of the balance of recommendations are
subject to the provision of funding, we are hopeful that more improvements will be forthcoming.”

Student Patrick Phipps on the campus ramps Photo Credit Sam Montanes

Students had a mix of opinion when asked about accessibility on campus.
“The college should have more ramps because how are you supposed to get around when you can’t find any,” Anthony Esposito said. “I couldn’t find the entrance ramp to the library.”
In the meantime, a definitive plan is in place to ameliorate some of the campus’ shortcomings in compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) laws.
Gross presented the Mainsheet with a project list of seven items regarding improvements, modifications, and other installments to be made around the College.
The first-step described on the college’s Project List, is perhaps the most important one:  repaving walkways and sidewalks to amend any possible tripping hazards around campus.
“The tripping hazards are just as important as accessibility. I’d like to see that stuff taken care of,” said Doug Terry, coordinator of Disability Services at the O’Neill Center.
Second objective on the list, which appears to be taken care of, addresses a noncompliant handicap parking area in front of the Tilden Arts Center. The Tilden Arts Center handicap parking spot has since been equipped with new signage and restriped into a lot.
The “south side ramp” in Grossman Commons requires repaving along with the incorporation of new handrails. The ramp-slope outside of Lecture Hall and the Life Fitness Center/Daycare west entrance have been deemed noncompliant, warranting repavement of those surfaces. An intriguing Item 6 on the College Project List reads, “Create accessible route from Nickerson Upper Level to Library.”
The last entry on the Project List concerns a site on the south side of campus. Selected walkways will be “repaved with priority for [the] campus entry walkway and ramp [on the] south
side of campus, rebuild exterior ramps with compliant grades, fix vertical displacement at pedestrian surfaces, and install or rebuild [the] curb cuts.”

* If you have any questions/concerns regarding the matter of equal-access, and/or inquiries about Disability Services at the college, please do not hesitate to contact the O’Neill Center at (508)-362-2131 x4337.