UI creates construction listserv

BY SARAH BULMER | MAY 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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The University of Iowa has broadened its spectrum of access for those with disabilities.

UI Facilities Management officials recently established the Access and Construction Alerts system, an online notification page, which also serves as a listserv for those who wish to receive e-mails about projects ranging from UI construction to road blockages to elevator maintenance.

While the service is available at the click of a button, it also serves those with disabilities, who might have a harder time finding accessible routes in the event of detours.

"It's really for the entire community, with that added feature now. [It's] something that's needed that we weren't doing in the past," said Wendy Moorehead, the communications manager for Facilities Management.

Those affected by road changes and makers of the website agree the feature is a useful and necessary tool.

"We have a tremendous amount of construction work on campus, and we routinely close down sidewalks, streets, and elevators for various reasons," said Brian Manternach, a Facilities Management engineer. "Sometimes, this severely affects a person with a disability."

All UI building coordinators, in addition to 75 other individuals, have signed up for alerts via the Access and Construction Alerts listserv, and officials say the popularity of the service, which recently added changes in building entrances to its litany of accommodations, is bound to grow.

"I can see where there may be requests that [the website] be used for additional information," Manternach said.

And the makers have received nothing but positive feedback since they created the site.

Manternach received e-mails praising the added feature.

Jennifer Wolff, who was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Iowa earlier this year, said transportation is always an issue for people with disabilities, and construction is often a factor in the difficulties these people face.

Wolff said the listserv will definitely help those in need, and she would consider signing up for the alerts.

"[Road blocks] make it even harder," she said. "A note in advance helps you plan for it and that saves time."

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