Letter to the Editor: The new and improved home of Disability Support Services

From Kim Bustillos

UAA Disability Support Services is moving!  But not far. In fact, DSS is staying in the same building: the Rasmuson Hall. The exciting news is that they will be moving into an entirely remodeled space that is twice the size of their old location. A new space with updated features will allow DSS to better serve UAA’s growing student body.  

The new DSS location

The Disability Support Services has been hard at work this last week packing up and moving to their new location on the other side of the Rasmuson Hall.  The new space is about 2,800 square feet in size. This has tripled the testing capacities for DSS.

The previous space wasn’t entirely wheelchair accessible, said Anne Lazenby, interim director for DSS.  The new location will now be entirely wheelchair accessible and will better serve the needs of UAA’s growing student body.

Approximately 65 percent of disabilities are invisible, Lazenby also said. Great care was taken to ensure that DSS facilitates a broad range of disabilities. Features such as adjustable desks, dimming lights and wide halls to accommodate turn radius for wheelchairs are a few of the highlights of this project.

This project was high-priority driven. An analysis was done, and the old space for DSS was inadequate to meet a student body of UAA’s size, said Chris McConnell, acting director of Facilities & Campus Services.

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DSS had been housed in the same space since the mid-1990s. Creative measures were taken to make the most of the old space. Closets were turned into offices and there was careful planning to accommodate student disabilities with the limited space. A growing student body propelled the need for a larger and upgraded space.  

DSS plans on having a grand opening for the new space in January once they are completely moved in and things have settled down.