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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 13, 2009

Acccessible workstation

Facilities Planning and Management placed 20 new wheelchair workstations in classrooms across campus, with 80 more waiting in the wings. The workstations give students with disabilities a comfortable place to learn in the classroom. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Workstations help make classrooms accessible for all

by Paula Van Brocklin

For the past 18 months, employees in facilities planning and management and the student disabilities resource office have been working to acquire 100 new wheelchair workstations for Iowa State classrooms. Now, 20 new workstations are in place across campus (the other 80 are on campus and ready for assembly). And, Katie Baumgarn, coordinator of instructional facilities in FP&M, would like them to stay put.

Baumgarn said workstations have been moved to rearrange space in classrooms. Sometimes they disappear from the rooms entirely.

"That's a real frustration for us," Baumgarn said. "We're trying to create a space that is accessible to all students, no matter what."

Baumgarn's office tracks the classrooms that have special equipment. If the workstations are missing, that creates problems for the students who need them.

Faculty who need extra space are asked to use the teaching stations at the front of the classrooms. If additional storage is necessary, Baumgarn said instructors should contact FP&M to request more tables.

What do they look like?

The workstations -- 3-foot-by-2-foot tabletops with adjustable legs -- are marked with the familiar blue and white handicap stickers.

While the university is not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to equip all classrooms with the workstations, Iowa State must provide one if a student or faculty member requests it.

"We see it as our responsibility," Baumgarn said.


Twenty of 100 new wheelchair workstations have been installed in university classrooms as a service to students.