Progress towards accessibility for all
The Easter Term of 2021 marked the completion of our accessibility building project. Our vision for this project goes back to 2019 when we conceived a plan for a development with two broad objectives.
Firstly, we wanted to make some of the most important spaces in the college more accessible to everyone. Key to achieving this objective was making our library more accessible. The old library had necessitated climbing two flights of steep, narrow stairs. By contrast the new basement library is accessible for all using stairs or lift (shown below).
We also installed a second platform lift and internal stair lift for access to the dining hall and common room, as well as handrails and ramps for access to the college archway, the Lecture Hall, the Lodge Offices, and staircase ‘C’.
Our second objective was to create new good quality accommodation that we can rent to students, staff or other tenants with a view to supporting and sustaining the financial position of the college for the future.
Building work on the project started in September 2020 and completed on time and on budget, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
For a moving insight into what accessibility means, we encourage you to read the meditative piece by artist Dr Rick Nelms, whose wheelchair was previously unable to negotiate the Victorian stepped entranceways. He describes his visit this summer to the new library as a 'Capernaum' experience, the platform lift lowering him to the written Word as the paralytic was lowered through the roof to the Word made flesh. It is a meditation that will continue to inspire us as we press forward on the journey of accessibility for all.
Formal completion of the building project will be marked by an official blessing and opening of the library in October by former ordinand the Revd Yvonne Desroches, and the Right Revd Stephen Conway, the Bishop of Ely.