By Aaron Wells–Chattanooga, TN
A University student concerned about the Cardiac Hill construction addressed SGA members at Tuesday’s meeting.
Student Frank DePinto, a Chattanooga junior, expressed his concern over the addition of stairs on Cardiac Hill.
DePinto, a physics major who also has a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and a master’s in physical geography said the addition of the stairs and ramps has led to the destruction of the landscape in the area including the student park behind Brock Hall.
However, DePinto’s main arguments were that the addition of the steps is dangerous to students health, and there was no student input into the project.
DePinto also said that the steps would be a danger to blind students as well as those in wheelchairs.
Also present at the meeting were Janet Spraker, director of engineering services, and Mike Fowler and David Payne, both of Ross/Fowler Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Knoxville.
Fowler and Payne presented the plans for the additions to Cardiac Hill and said that this project is a part of the campus master plan.
Fowler outlined all of the components of the project, including a pavilion in the place of the old South Stadium.
“All of the master plan improvements have been focused on more gathering spaces and more green spaces for the campus,” Fowler said.
Fowler said the pavilion could be used for concerts, meetings, performances, and Spraker added it could potentially be used for commencement.
SGA President Bradley Bell, a Knoxville senior, also said there are plans to rebuild the student park that was formerly behind Brock Hall.
As for the steps and ramps, Fowler said that steps are not a safety hazard and will help direct movement and accessibility for all students, including those with disabilities.
Bryon Kluesner, adaptive technology coordinator, said the danger to blind students and those and wheelchairs was a “moot” point because the students go through orientation and mobility training to familiarize them with the layout of the campus.
“Our disability resource center was in the planning committee,” Bell said. “And I believe that they know how to serve students with disabilities.”
DePinto submitted a resolution and asked that SGA vote to end the project, which Fowler said would be complete by May 2013.
Bell said members of SGA are not taking the issue lightly and the procedure’s committee will be looking at the resolution to discuss further action.