March 9th, 2005



Volume 22, Issue 22

Brick pavers to connect LRH patio with UHB

By Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter

The mulch-covered strip of land between the Lincoln Residence Hall patio and the west entrance of University Hall is about to receive a facelift.
Dave Barrows, director of physical planning and operations, said that several brick pavers will be installed in place of the mulch as soon as weather conditions become more favorable. The pavers, he said, will be set at the same level as the surrounding concrete and should create a smooth walking surface.

Several brick pavers will be installed instead of the mulch to connect Lincoln Residence Hall and University Hall

The new surface would be smooth enough to allow wheelchair users to travel directly from the accessible entrance on the east side of the LRH lobby to the west UHB entrance, which is also accessible. The strip of mulch prevents wheelchair-users from taking the direct path between the two buildings that other individuals take.
Building service worker Darrell Turner said that he began pushing for a sidewalk in what is now the mulch-covered strip of land shortly after UHB opened last fall. The strip of land, which was covered only in dirt during the fall semester, limits LRH’s wheelchair accessibility and adds to the amount of mud being tracked into the dorm, he said.
Turner said that he approached building service supervisor Dale Abeln last fall to request a sidewalk, and he was told that stepping-stones would be put in along the strip of land. According to Turner, stepping-stones would not be adequate for wheelchair-users and would be only somewhat helpful in reducing the amount of mud being tracked into LRH.
Barrows did not describe the brick pavers being used for the project as stepping-stones, but as a set of large bricks separated by sand on a rock base. The pavers would create a continuous surface that would allow wheelchair-users to travel directly from the LRH patio to the sidewalk leading to UHB, he said.
Instead of installing stepping-stones, brick pavers or a sidewalk, university workers added mulch to the strip of land during winter break. Brad Ward, a resident assistant in LRH, said that the problem of students tracking mud into the building has actually become worse since the mulch was put in place.
The mud beneath the mulch also creates a safety issue, Turner said. With shoes that become muddy after walking through the mulch, students are more likely to slip on the concrete patio when it is snowy and icy, he said.
According to Turner, a sidewalk or a comparable level surface would cut the travel distance to UBH in half for wheelchair-users. Ward said that one wheelchair-user in LRH uses the dorm’s main entrance when leaving for UHB or elsewhere, which takes a lot longer than it would to use the accessible entrance at the east side of the lobby. The longer travel times are particularly uncomfortable for this individual on days that are cold, windy and snowy, according to Ward.
Turner said he understands that it takes time to complete construction projects, but it shouldn’t take as long as it has to serve the students by pouring concrete for a sidewalk to or adding some stepping-stones.
“If it weren’t for the students, we wouldn’t have a job,” Turner said. “That’s the bottom line right there. And, the students come first. And definitely, if you don’t take care of the students, they’re going to go somewhere else.”
According to Barrows, the mulch was added as a temporary measure designed to reduce the amount of mud being tracked into LRH until the brick pavers can be put in place. He said that crews are waiting for the frost in the ground to thaw before installing the pavers because the ground may not settle properly if the work is done while the ground is still frosted.

The Springfield Collegiate Career Fair

By Janee Mitchell - Feature Writer

Students looking for a job or internship got a handle on the job market at the Springfield Collegiate Career Fair, held Feb. 25 on the lower level of the concourse.
Environmental studies grad student Darien Siddal said he attended the career fair “to get my resume out there,” and he also said he hoped to find a job in land use planning, environmental planning or work as a protection specialist.
Although there were no on the spot interviews, students were placed in a meet and greet setting with their prospective employers and afforded the chance to make lasting and memorable impressions. As many seniors, grad students and internship seekers are making their way into the workforce the influx of people was foreseeable.
Over 100 companies were listed as participants in the career fair with employment opportunities ranging from sales consultants at Avon to the Illinois Air National Guard, Inspector Generals Office, Walgreen Company, Children’s Home and temporary places of employment like Manpower and Kelly Services.
Dawn Hohmann, employment coordinator at the Children’s Home, said they were “looking for a candidate with a bachelor’s degree and previous experience from volunteer work or internships.” The Children’s Home is a regular participant of the career fair. Hohmann recounts their 4-year relationship with the career fair and estimates that they have chosen at least five students.



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