Finding a Better Path
Recent campus improvements highlight Trinity’s commitment to accessibility
Friday, October 30, 2020
Aerial view of upper campus

For decades, accessibility has been a challenge on Trinity’s campus.

The University’s position atop an old rock quarry has forced architects, engineers, and maintenance personnel to literally work uphill—around sharp elevation changes, awkward slopes, and tough terrain. And for students, families, and all members of the community, simple wayfinding has also been a difficult process, with an absence of clear signage.

But over the past year, Vice President of Finance Gary Logan says Trinity has prioritized multiple construction projects dedicated to creating a more physically inclusive campus. 

“Trinity continues to dedicate funds for accessibility projects, especially in challenging and uncertain financial times, because we are committed to creating a safe, welcoming campus environment,” Logan says. “Each of these projects helps us take larger and larger steps towards this goal. And this commitment means Trinity will continue to search for ways to make campus more accessible for all in the future.”

“Behind the dust clouds and bustling sounds of construction are a dedicated team of facilities employees, working hard behind the scenes to expand access to Trinity’s campus,” says Gordon Bohmfalk, University architect and director of sustainability.

Bohmfalk says the recent surge of accessibility projects—done in alignment with Texas and Federal accessibility standards—have focused mainly on travel between vehicles and buildings.

“Getting out of a van or a car, there’s often a cross-slope on parts of campus that affects anyone with a disability who’s trying to get to a sidewalk,” Bohmfalk says. “And then, once you get to the sidewalk, it’s been confusing: ‘How do I get to the front door of the facility?’”

While many past improvement projects have focused mostly on interiors of buildings, these rarely address an overall picture of accessibility, Bohmfalk says. “So, now we’re addressing issues such as the slope of parking spots, or taking confusing routes and making them more accessible.”

Explore many of the improvements recently completed, those currently taking place, and upcoming projects:

View of three fountains in the meditation garden

Margarite B. Parker Chapel

  1. One-foot handrail extensions installed on ramp along side of Chapel
  2. Concrete laid at entrance to meet vertical separation requirement
  3. Replacing of asphalt for accessible parking in Lot E to meet slope requirements
  4. Replacing of asphalt for accessible parking off Bushnell Avenue
  5. Adding accessible restroom stall and widening entry doors


Path leading to Oakmont home

Oakmont Court Homes

  1. Evaluated accessible ramp and patio at 146 Oakmont
  2. Evaluated accessible ramp and patio at 130 Oakmont
  3. Evaluated accessible ramp, path and patio at 151 Oakmont
  4. Evaluated accessible pathway at 139 Oakmont


a student on a bicycle rides by the entrance to CSI

Marrs McLean Hall / Center for Sciences and Innovation

  1. Replaced sign for accessible path with a van accessible sign
  2. Installed painted, striped path to new accessible curb ramp


Laurie Auditorium external shot

Laurie Auditorium

  1. Restriped the accessible path leading from parking to elevators



Coates Student Center doorway external view

Coates University Center

  1. Replaced asphalt on accessible parking space in Lot A to meet slope requirements
  2. Designated eight-foot portion of walkway as a ramp, complete with handrails on either side


External view of Coates University Library

Coates Library

  1. Will replace concrete path from Lot F to entry to meet slope requirements (2022)



Students in Ruth Taylor Courtyard

Ruth Taylor Concert Hall

  1. Replaced existing ramp in courtyard to meet slope requirements



Newman Tennis center aerial view

Newman Tennis Center

  1. Replaced asphalt on accessible parking in Lot Z to meet slope requirements
  2. Reinstalled path from parking to intramural field


External view of football field

Trinity Stadium

  1. Added an accessible parking space
  2. Installed compliant ramps and handrails into stadium
  3. Revised ramp with intermediate landing into ticket booth


exterior drone shot of the Bell Center at sunset

Bell Athletic Center and Mabee Dining Hall

  1. Added four accessible parking spaces in Lot S
  2. Installed curb ramp in Lot S
  3. Replaced asphalt for accessible parking spaces in Lot S to meet slope requirements
  4. Replaced handrails and extended existing ramp 
  5. Re-leveled brick walkway 


Calvert Hall courtyard shot

Winn, Calvert and McLean Residence Halls

  1. Replaced asphalt for accessible parking spaces and access aisle to meet slope requirements
  2. Reinstalled curb ramp to meet slope requirements
  3. Reinstalled handrails for entrance ramp
  4. Replaced Witt-Winn concrete walk to meet slope requirements
  5. Installed handrails on sloped surface at Calvert Hall entrance


view off Thomas balcony looking north, to South Hall

Thomas Residence Hall

  1. Replaced asphalt on accessible parking spaces in Lot W to meet slope requirements
  2. Re-striped adjacent parking space in Lot W to create access aisle at appropriate slope
  3. Installed van-accessible and accessible parking-compliant signage
  4. Replaced sidewalk paving from parking to front door to comply with slope requirements


McFarlin lounge walkway

McFarlin Lounge

  1. Installed handrails on ramp from circle drive parking to entrance
  2. Added accessible van space in circle drive


External shot of Alumni Relations and Development building

Alumni Relations and Development Center

  1. Added accessible van space in Lot Z
  2. Replaced asphalt on accessible parking spaces in Lot Z to meet slope requirements
  3. Replaced handrail extension with compliant rail

Keep an eye out for future projects, too!

“This scope does not, by any means, complete our full task,” Bohmfalk says. “We have to constantly be looking for more ways to improve our campus.”


Jeremiah Gerlach is the brand journalist for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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