Handicapped people – or people with special needs in modern terminology – represent a significant interactive group in well cultured societies. Such societies do not consider the disability suffered by these people to inhibit their valuable input into their communities. For developing and enabling the handicapped, communities, governments and organizations should adopt a positive approach and provide all facilities for developing their skills and releasing their creative abilities, this is particularly relevant to educational and academic institutions.
Fortunately, Kuwait University adopts a positive policy towards the handicapped. The university provides many services and facilities for people with special needs to ensure the graduation of people with science and academic experience. Social services and academic care are provided, and facilities are provided with best engineering, architectural and technical fittings for the same purpose. The university continued the application of this policy in the new campus facilities of SSUC.
In this context, Eng. Fatema Al-Essa, College of Science Follow-Up Engineer, stated: “The project design incorporates the following components in compliance with ADA (American with Disabilities Act) requirements, and they were incorporated in the college of Science drawings for serving people with special needs. These components or services include the width of corridors / passageways from the main entrance to the classrooms, offices, labs and other user spaces being designed in compliance with the ADA requirements for wheelchair usage – the project design exceeds the recommendation set by the aforesaid Act”.
“All doors and doorway openings to classrooms, offices, labs and other usable spaces and which segregate the corridors are sufficiently wide and comply with the respective clauses of ADA” she added, “expansion joint profile on the floors of all usable spaces and passageways are designed to eliminate the slightest of the level changes which could affect use of wheelchair users. The thresholds and dividing strips between two different floor finishes are also in compliance with ADA requirements. The design incorporated these elements in such a way as to eliminate floor level changes or to have these within limits specified by the ADA (especially at toilets)”.
“Elevator cab sizes are designed to meet ADA requirements for wheelchair users (refer attached sketches for locations). Drinking fountains are provided along corridors in accordance with ADA requirements for mounting heights, depths, knee spaces … etc. Laboratories incorporate special workstations, fume hood benches and tables for disabled people as part of our design”.
Eng. Al-Essa ended: “auditoriums, lecture halls and higher capacity classrooms have space provisions for accessible wheelchair seating stalls (refer attached sketches for locations). An access ramp for wheelchair users has been provided in the fire lane south of male and north of female campus”.