Among the projects President Teresa Amott has begun to tackle in the short time she has been with Knox is the installation of elevators in Old Main and George Davis Hall (GDH).
Director of Facilities Services Scott Maust said President Emeritus Roger Taylor initiated the proposal about ten years ago. Taylor originally held his staff meetings in the common room on the second floor of Old Main, but because some of the staff had difficulty with climbing the stairs, Taylor moved the meetings to the Alumni Room on the first floor of Old Main.
Amott has reinitiated the proposal, and the school is currently seeking funds from the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, which disperses grants and funds projects for schools across Illinois.
The Illinois Capital Development Board also oversees the enrichment of school facilities from elementary to university levels. Knox has been granted a $3 million allotment.
Maust said, “Thus far we’d receive one grant about a year ago,” which was used to renovate the Seymour Library and converting Wallace Lounge into the Taylor Student Lounge.
“We may be headed for more funding. How much, we don’t know,” Maust said.
Accessibility for those at Knox with disabilities remains a big concern.
“The common room of Old Main is just great and it’d be great if people could see it,” Maust said. “But it’d be very important if we can set up the elevator of GDH.”
He said this would develop more office spaces and grant construction workers better access to the fourth floor of the building.
“If there’s a student with a physical problem they end up changing class location,” Maust said.
Junior Amanda Lee has had two knee surgeries and has, at some points, had to use crutches for about six months.
She said she is lucky that she is a “SMC (Sharvey Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center) rat.”
“There was a month where I couldn’t put my foot on the ground,” she said.
Lee said professors are usually “very open” about changing classroom location. Her concern is not only for herself, however, but also for her fellow students.
“I don’t like that,” Lee said when asked what she thought about Knox’s inaccessibility to potential students who may have certain handicaps.
“I think that is so terrible that there’s two buildings on camps where they can’t go … horrible we don’t meet national standards,” Lee said.
Other buildings on campus have undergone renovations in the past few years, like Hamblin Hall and some of the other on campus apartments, are now wheelchair accessible.
The elevator in GDH would be installed next to the language lab, going up through what are now custodial closets. The elevator in Old Main would be located through the farthest door east of the building, across from the Alumni Room.
“A lot of that is code-driven,” Maust said, “but it’s something we want to do too.”
Lee said she would like to see elevators put in GDH and Old Main “within the next two years, while I am here.”
She doubts this will happen, however, especially considering the extensive renovations being done to Alumni Hall. Lee supposed that, due to money for the most part, elevators probably would be installed in the two buildings within the next ten years.
“I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I think we’ll see something within three to five years, maybe sooner … the Dean (Lawrence Breitborde) has wanted it from day one,” he said.