New elevator to improve wheelchair accessibility to be built in McGilvrey Hall


A student uses the elevator in McGilvrey Hall.

Samantha Farland

McGilvrey Hall will get a new elevator and student lounge, changes that are expected to cost $1.4 million. The work should be completed by the 2020 Spring semester. 

The decision to revamp the elevator was made out of concern for handicapped students on campus. 

Both wings of the building, which houses the Departments of Geology and Geography, are currently inaccessible from the original first-floor elevator for students with wheelchairs.

Although inspected frequently, the current 80-year-old elevator remains a reliability concern, University Architect Michael Bruder said.

Currently, the elevator in McGilvrey Hall remains in a space too small to rebuild.

The new elevator will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Modern elevators are made bigger to accommodate wheelchairs and emergency services like gurneys, Bruder said.

Students will be able to access all parts of the building from the new elevator. Beth Ruffing, the project manager and assistant director of capital design and construction at Kent State, said they have been trying to resolve the issue for some time.

Once the new elevator is operational, the old one will be decommissioned, Bruder said.

Student Accessibility Services currently transports students to the back entrance on Kent Drive where they can access the current elevator. The new elevator will be more accessible for emergency vans and services in terms of location and size.

The new installment will also provide what the building currently lacks—a student lounge with a space to do group work and interact.

The updated elevator and lounge will be an important improvement for the building and its students.

“While it is just an elevator upgrade, we always try to take the opportunity when we’re fixing something that is old to see if there are other beneficial aspects to the project that we can do,” Bruder said.

Samantha Farland is the construction reporter. Contact her at [email protected]