It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Accessible/Universial Design: Somebody Actually Gets it!!!!! (WOOT)

I'm surprised that I haven't come on here and ranted and raved about the gym at all. You see, the gym was open even after finals were over, but then the Friday before summer school started was the last day that it was open--until further notice. They were doing "repairs." I went there the first week of summer school, found out, and left. Somehow I heard it was opening back up the following Monday. So that Tuesday I got in my Jazzy and sped over, only to be told by someone in campus rec to try back early next week. I had really been looking foward to a good 2mi run that day. Sad. Instead of wasting my time changing and going over there, last week I got smart and called first. "Try early next week." AAARRRGGG. Seriously? Can't you tell me anything better then that? It had been so long since I'd gone for a good workout (my own fault) that I didn't know what I was going to do. Have a temper tantrum maybe? I NEED TO RUN!!! I was starting to lose faith that it was ever going to open back up.

So the other day I went on the campus rec site. It said it was opening up yesterday. I was still a tad bit skeptical, so yesterday morning I called again. "Will the gym be open today?" "Yes, yes, it will be open at noon" (regular summer hours). Insert happy dance.

I went today right after class. Trust me when I say that it was well worth the wait. When I got in there I parked my chair in my usual parking spot and then my mouth hung open. Nothing was "different." They hadn't done any repairs at all. But where was half the stuff? It was missing. Where did it go? All I saw was empty space. Huh???

It took a bit for it all to sink in. Wait a minute! The front desk is in a different spot... It's a new front desk... It's a lower front desk... The front desk is wheelchair height! I'm not a full-time wheeler, I don't work out in the chair ever. I always get out. But I can still appreciate the awesomeness that it was. And you know what? Now that the counter is lower, the desk attendant doesn't have to stand for the whole shift. There's a chair there. I'm sure they appreciate it. Why look at that... accessible design benefits everyone.

The first thing I always do when I work out is get on a recumbant bike. It loosens my bum knee enough so that it can do everything else I want it to do. They're upstairs and I'm always lazy and use the elevator to get up there. My Dr would rather I use the stairs I'm sure, but my view is that I'd rather save my energy for the workout, not waste it on the stairs. Hmmm... was there a bit more room to get to the corner where the elevator is?

Get off the elevator. WHOO... where did all the empty space come from up here? Well some absolute genius decided to turn all the cardio around so that they faced long ways instead of short ways. Now instead of 5 short rows of cardio machines there are 2 very long ones. Everything was so far apart. By shifting all of the machines 90 degrees it created so much more space. I counted the floor tiles. 3 tiles between the back of the first row and the front of the second row. I wish my eyes didn't suck. I wish my brain had the capacity to interperate distance. I wish I had even half a clue how big each tile that is. Minimal clearance under ADA guidelines is 36in. I'm pretty sure each of them is more then a foot. You have no idea how frustrated I am that I don't know.

Because they moved the cardio, they then had to relocate the 4 TVs they had up there. Before, when the machines were short ways the TVs were too small for anyone in the back to see them. With machines only 2 deep, everyone can see now. For those that are people watchers, instead of the machines facing a wall, they now face the balcony so that if you don't want to watch TV you're welcome to watch everyone lifting downstairs. There are mirrors on the wall directly behind where the cardio stuff is now. That's the area set up for sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, etc. Because the cardio's been moved, there's more room back there. What's that you say again? Accessible design really does benefit everyone. I'd like to note that there's still the same number of machines up there. They didn't get rid of any.

Then I went downstairs to lift. Why did they flip everything around so that the free weights are cloesest to the entrance and the machines are over at the other end now? *Lightbulb Moment* Full-time wheelers are less likely to transfer to machines to work out. Free weights and the 2 cable machines (I heart cable machines) are much easier to use from a chair. Putting them closer to the door makes them easiest to get to and puts you closer to the desk if you need assistance. And what does anyone else care? Nothing's missing over there either. As I walked through that area to get to a good spot to do my floor work, I tried to count all the floor tiles every time there was a change in distance between things. Some things were apart by 5 tiles, some 6, some so far apart I lost count. Oh HOLY COW is the clearance amazing over there now. If you're AB and hurt yourself and am hobbleing around on crutches, that doesn't mean you can't work out you upper body. All of that clearance makes it so much easier to hobble.

I did some floor work right between the free weights and the machines. After I got down, but before I got started, I scaned the area. Did they get rid of any of the machines to make that extra room? Everything was in a different spot. Where's this? Where's that? Well this is over here, and that's over there. All machines present and accounted for. Again they managed to make things more accessable without getting rid of a thing. All machines seem to be at least 36in at least on one side, if not both. Maybe I should take the chair for a spin to check that out for sure? The only machine completely inaccessible is the chin dip thingy. It's blocked by a support beam from the balcony. But no wheeler can get up on that thing. I can't get up on that thing.

Is the whole gym accessible? No. Besides the chin dip, the 2 very small rows of cardio downstairs are still rediculously close. But to seperate them would mean completely blocking all access to the elevator, or stealing clearance from the free weights. Leave them where they are. I'd rather have elevator access and extra clearance. There's enough cardio upstairs.

I've had more then a few gripes with this school through the years. There are things that they just don't get. Lately, people have made my blood boil a bit. This was nice to see for a change. Campus rec got a new director over the winter, and my understanding is that no one asked him to do this. My understanding is that they weren't reported or anything. My understanding is that this was one of his first orders of business. My understanding from talking with disability support is that he initiated everything. Can I get a cheerleader with pom poms in a short skirt who can jump high in the air and cheer? Somebody gets it finally. Accessible design benefits everyone and doesn't take all that much effort or money. The only new thing they got was the lower desk. And what's moving 4 TVs in the scheme of things?


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