The city of Olathe has awarded Kansas State-Olathe Campus and its partners – DesignSense, 360 Architecture, and Weitz Construction – a Community Accessibility Award for making its campus accessible for all people, including those with disabilities. Dan Richardson, K-State-Olathe President, and partners collaborated with the Olathe Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board to ensure that its campus’s design and construction would meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hallways, restrooms and podiums are wheelchair accessible, while walls, floors, and furniture hues aid the visually impaired. In addition to accessibility, Richardson and partners took into account aesthetic considerations. For example, glass railings were used outside so that wheelchair users could enjoy the scenic landscape.
A team of cyclists on the Journey of Hope, a 4,000-mile trek to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities, stopped in Olathefor a two-day rest, visiting K-State-Olathe campus, City Hall, and Kauffman Stadium. Journey of Hope’s parent organization is Push America, the national philanthropic arm of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Three teams of cyclists take three cross-country routes on the Journey of Hope. The program has raised more than a half a million dollars this year alone, and $15 million to date.
Axel Holm, crew member and central route team public relations representative, said, “We like to stress that people come first; disability or ability comes after. We try to spread the word to end the word. ‘Retarded’ is a word that we don’t use. ‘Disabled’ is just another way to bring somebody down. We like to say ‘people or person with a disability,’ so that’s just something we stress as Push America.”
Richardson said, “I think it was a good fit, with us just having received the Community Accessibility Award for our building. Our efforts really complement each other. We’re proactively making accessible spaces, and they are volunteering and raising money to fix existing places so that they become more accessible. So it’s a really nice compliment.”