On this page, the executive summary of the Comprehensive Accessibility Plan for the Built Environment (Plan) is provided for easy perusal. Download the full Plan document (PDF) to read more in-depth.

The online form for public comment is closed, but you can always submit comments via email.

The Plan attempts to address accessibility at Oregon State University historically, at present, and where the university strives to go. The existing status quo of achieving access by relocation and accommodation strategies at the university is inadvisable, as a current lack of university space, program relocation costs, activity scheduling difficulties with limited fully accessible spaces, and the specificity of many of the academic programs, are making relocation a much harder endeavor for the university to satisfy than simply renovating existing facilities. In addition, this approach too frequently puts the burden on the person with a disability to request an accommodation.

OSU is at a point where the university needs to re-analyze how to best achieve program access and use a comprehensive approach to improve the physical environment for persons with disabilities. The Plan attempts to address these issues.

Executive Summary

Much work has been done in recent years to improve access to persons with disabilities on campus, but much still remains to be done. Through the Plan, OSU is pursuing a holistic and comprehensive prioritized plan that sets forth objectives over the next five years. These objectives were developed through work with the Accessible University Advisory Committee (AUAC), Disability Access Services (DAS), Facilities Services (FS), and the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), with opportunity for input provided to other interested community members.

These five objectives are not necessarily in order of importance, however, there was consensus within the committee that the idea of an accessible travel grid (Objective 1) is a top priority and is essential in ensuring access. Without first developing an accessible connection to each building, internal accessibility alone might not help OSU achieve desired results. These objectives will be underway all at the same time, to varying degrees, as they are all important. This will be more evident when looking at the table following this section - Prioritization and Cost Breakdown of Objectives by Phase.

The projected cost estimates listed in this executive summary can be seen as a starting point in ensuring that OSU progresses significantly towards these five-year goals. To achieve the longer term aspirational goals of being the most accessible university in Oregon, and perhaps in the country, much more will need to be invested in improving accessibility of the campus over the years.

Five-Year Accessibility Improvement Plan

Oregon State University is seeking to achieve the following objectives within the next five years.

Objective 1: Achieve an accessible travel grid (ATG) interconnecting identified building entries on campus through: pedestrian facilities (sidewalks and ramps), parking in close proximity to each facility, and shuttle/public transportation stops.

Action: Seek resources, and begin contracting now for ATG

Action: Study, design, and construct accessible parking and pathways in east hill area

Projected costs: $6,000,000
ATG: $4,000,000
East Hill: $150,000k for study and design, estimated $1,850,000 for improvements

Objective 2: Complete assessment of accessibility barriers in main campus facilities.

Action: Develop funding plan to complete assessment of internal facilities

Projected costs: $1,366,245 ($10-15,000/building) rounded to $1.4 million for unexpected costs

Objective 3: Remove high priority facility barriers.

Action: Identification and removal of barriers to offices/elements that cannot be relocated, and barriers in locations where it would be advisable for physical accessibility to be a priority

Action: Prioritize barrier removal based on the assessment of buildings in Objective 2

Projected costs: $10,500,000 (full cost unknown pending Objective 2. This conservative rough estimate factors in known costs for restroom improvements, elevators, and other areas of focus)

Objective 4: Assess feasibility and potential usability of campus transportation systems for people with disabilities – including a paratransit system.

Action: Conduct feasibility study of paratransit, infuse OSU-City Collaboration project with comments about need to improve campus shuttle system for all, including those with disabilities

Projected costs: Incorporated into OSU-City Collaboration, recommendations for transportation improvements likely to incur additional costs, and potentially rebuilding bus stops around campus

Objective 5: Achieve an adequate supply and assortment by size of accessible classrooms.

While classes, when viewed as a “program,” are relocated as needed, it has and will continue to be a difficult solution to achieve as the university grows. It should be a goal to reduce the need to relocate classes, with a long-term goal that all classrooms are accessible.

Action: Further develop knowledge of classroom conditions; prioritize improvements

Projected costs: $3,100,000 estimated by Classroom Committee for next phase of improvements

Additional Policy Objectives

The following specific additional policy objectives have emerged through this process, and through knowledge developed about campus the past few years. These items are listed with information on when they should be accomplished during the five year plan period, whether immediately, ongoing, or at specific points.

  • Immediate and Ongoing – Establish recurring centralized funding for accessibility improvements.
  • Immediate and Ongoing – Continue to collect information on programs, services, and activities of the university to ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Ongoing – Revisit this comprehensive plan on a routine basis; review and publicize progress at the end of years two and three, and make any necessary adjustments. Additionally review progress at the end of year four and start planning for another five-year plan.
  • Annually – Communicate the current campus accessibility goals, accomplishments, and map.
  • Year One – Ensure that all new/renovated facilities connect to the Accessible Travel Grid, and that all major building projects address barriers identified in the comprehensive campus assessment. Build this process into the OSU Construction Standards and the third-party review of all major new construction and renovation projects.
  • Year Three – Establish a routine maintenance process to ensure accessibility features remain barrier free.

These additional recommendations are not necessarily built environment design and construction specific, but rather, policy, process, or practice recommendations. They are not detailed more in-depth in this document, rather, they should serve as starting points for conversations amongst campus leadership on what other policy, process, or practice changes might be necessary to ensure the university meets its aspirational goals. Some will require more in-depth conversations on how certain processes work at the university, others will be simpler process changes that can be improved through updating the campus construction standards.

Recent Progress

Oregon State University is already doing many of the things cited in recent studies by other universities (references in full document), has implemented positive practice changes, and should continue the following work that has happened over the past 3 years:

  • Completing barrier removal throughout the campus, as defined in the previous transition plans as cited in this document, through work cited in Accessibility at OSU: Past, and through other recent work as cited on the accessibility website.
  • Assessing the physical state of campus.
  • Strengthening collaboration between DAS, OEI, and FS.
  • Employing dedicated administrators as Americans with Disabilities Act resources for campus.
  • Employing a dedicated ADA project manager in FS.
  • Convening a strong committee dedicated to providing sustained focus on prioritization and input, with a defined charge.
  • Defining maintenance procedures (snow/ice, routine maintenance of accessible paths).
  • Creating and updating best practices for architects and contractors to follow, incorporated into the Facilities Services OSU Construction Standards.

Requiring building projects to follow processes related to accessibility including; publicly open design workshops, facilitated design review by AUAC, and third-party firms with significant accessibility expertise reviewing design and monitoring construction (see flowchart full document page 12).

Prioritization and Cost Breakdown of Objectives by Phase

Phase Objective 1: ATG Objective 2: Assessment Objective 3: High Priority Barriers Objective 4: Transportation Objective 5: Classroom Assortment Dedicated Funds Estimated Additional Funds Needed
1 East Hill Study, path from core to res halls south of railroad, parking at Cordley (3315), path from core to Wiegand, door wayfinding signage signifying access Continue assessment, starting with Kidder, Gilbert, and Fairbanks in Spring 2013 Wait for objective 2, but in mean time survey offices for access, identify non-relocatable, prioritize improvements, continue strategic restroom improvements near classrooms Feasibility studied reported in OSU Goals: Objective 4, infuse collaboration project Determine priority and funding for continual improvement 10% deferred maintenance biennium funds ($850,000 requested) $150,000
2 East Hill construction (includes 2 parking lots 3242/3263, building entries/ramps at Women's Center, Benton Hall, Pharmacy, Furman pathways, Gilbert accessible entrance, Gilmore accessible entrance, Kerr east accessible entrance, parking lots (3234, 3303, 3221, 3262, 3266), finish wayfinding Assess remaining buildings by Dec 2014 – use info to prioritize Objective 5 improvements over following years Wait for objective 2 - once complete prioritize (accessible restrooms in each building, major entrance and internal circulation barriers, wayfinding and Braille signage), finish restroom improvements near classrooms, relocate Speech Communication (or create satellite office until they can move), start completing ‘Yes’ actions needed in Combined Access list None Begin design work and set-up for when capacity allows work to begin in spring 2016 on Classroom Committee first tier priorities 10% deferred maintenance biennium funds $4,400,000
3 Langton accessible entrance, path from core to Oak Creek/30th, 30th and Jefferson (coincide with Classroom Bldg. opening), Pride Center entrance, parking lots (3301, 0205, 3233, 3271 – Cascade Hall) None Begin to implement removal of high priority barriers from assessment, additionally, plan for construction of Fairbanks elevator and entry, Langton elevator, and prioritize remaining ‘Yes’ actions needed in ‘Combined Access’ list None Finish design work and set-up for when capacity allows work to begin in spring 2016 No currently dedicated funds $5,550,000
4 Path from Wiegand to Orchard Court/Fam Housing, Ballard Extension accessible entrance, parking lots (3380, 3269, 3280) None Continue to implement removal of high priority barriers from assessment, continue work on ‘Yes’ action needed items in ‘Combined Access’ list None Begin work in spring on first tier Classroom Committee priorities No currently dedicated funds $5,450,000
5 Address remaining ATG barriers, parking lots (3333, 3341, 3286, 3282, 3284, 3205, 3281) None Continue to implement removal of high priority barriers, finish work on 'Yes' action needed items in ‘Combined Access’ list None Finish work on remaining first tier Classroom Committee priorities No currently dedicated funds $5,450,000
Total Cost $6,000,000 $1,400,000 $10,500,000 None currently $3,100,000   $21,000,000