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Rec Center installs new equipment for disabled

By Matthew Stafford

February 16, 2012

The Rec Center, with the help of the Office of Disability Services, has been undergoing some changes to make it friendlier to people with disabilities. The most notable thing is the lift in the pool that allows people who might not be able to use the ladder safely to enter and exit the pool. The lift, paid for by ODS, is the result of two years of hard work by both parties. The Rec Center has been building on this to incorporate more inclusive programming. One example is the Aqua Inclusive program. The program is a water exercise class designed with people with disabilities in mind. According to ODS, there is more to come.

Much of it is due to the work of Kristen Hayes, a Rec Center Intern. Hayes is going into Campus Recreation as a career. She had always been around adapted sports programming like the Special Olympics and worked with similar programs as an undergraduate at Ohio State. Since her arrival this fall, Hayes has been working with ODS to help make the Rec Center more accessible.

“I have worked with [ODS] to try and make the Rec as ideally accessible as possible,” Hayes said. “We had a meeting at the beginning of the fall semester and walked through the building and were given suggestions to make the Rec even better.”

One is they revamped the locker rooms so they are more wheelchair accessible. The Rec Center is ordering equipment for an accessible shower in the Women’s locker room for example. They are also making more space in the weight training areas. Space is only half the battle though. The other half is equipment.

“Right now we are looking at a couple of different pieces of ADA certified exercise equipment so that our students with disabilities can get some cardio and weight training in,” Hayes said. We’re planning on having this equipment by April if all goes well with the company that we are getting these pieces from.”

Reception from students working with ODS has been positive.

“I think it’s great,” said Vanetta Darden, a student who works with ODS. “It gives people more options.”

Lindsay Varkula, a worker at ODS is one of her biggest fans.
“She’s been really helpful in getting this equipment and getting these programs up and running,” Varkula said.