• The University modifies the Historical Building to facilitate accessibility, including an elevator to the Upper Cloister

    April 29, 2013

    The reforms, which have been possible thanks to the seal of Campus of International Excellence, include the installation of ramps and stairlifts to facilitate the access of people with physical disabilities and limited mobility

    The Historical Building of the University of Oviedo has undergone a comprehensive reform to eliminate the multiple architectural barriers that it had after being constructed more than 400 years ago. This initiative, funded by the Campus of International Excellence, highlights the value of the university heritage and is framed in the activities geared to social responsibility of the academic institution. One of the most noteworthy reforms that have been carried out is the installation of an elevator in the second floor of the building, which will allow people with physical disabilities or limited mobility to access, for the first time, the Central Library and the premises located around the Upper Cloister.

    During four months, a dozen reforms were performed around and inside the Historical Building in order to make universal accessibility a reality. This plan has taken special care of the common spaces, removing steps and putting in their place ramps that are completely integrated into the environment and which connect the premises and allow for the entrance to the Main Hall and the rest of classroom and premises in the Lower Cloister. Moreover, in order to comply with the current regulations, doors now open to the outside.

    This initiative is framed in the social work of the University and aims at facilitating the participation of everyone in the different activities conducted by the LAUDEO Cultural Center

    Other noteworthy reforms include the stairlifts implemented in the existing stairways, both in the main entrance to the building on Ramón y Cajal street and in the side entrances to the Main Hall and the Chapel, and the installation of a toilet adapted for people with reduced mobility on the ground floor. Moreover, an inner elevator has been installed to facilitate the access to the different stories of the building, specially to the Upper Cloister, the location of several premises with a high number of users. It is important to highlight that this is the first time that people with disabilities, or simply with reduced mobility, are able to access the Central Library, both the study room as well as the rest of areas included in guided tours, and that they now are also able to visit the exhibitions that take place in the Upper Cloister.

    This reforms are aimed at promoting the access, the inclusion and the participation of everyone in the different aspects of the academic, cultural and social life, whose activities usually take place in this emblematic building, which was turned in 2011 into the Cultural Center of University Extenstion of LAUDEO ("La Antigua Universidad de Oviedo", The Old University of Oviedo). Apart from academic and institutional ceremonies, the building also hosts conferences, debates, courses, classrooms of university extension, film festivals, exhibitions and numerous concerts. Accessibility to the Historical Building responds to the need of opening the University to society and offering the public its heritage. Thus, everyday visits to the building will also benefit from these reforms.

    The intervention, carried out by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Campuses, IT and Infrastructures, was financed by the seal of Campus of International Excellence, which allowed for the achievement of grants for these goals. Around €166.000 were invested in these reforms, around half of which came from the Subprogram of Reinforcement of the CIE, as a public-private collaboration, which funds from the Ministry of Education and the ONCE Foundation, while the remaining half came from the university institution itself.

    La inauguración de estas actuaciones coincide con la celebración de las jornadas sobre Universidad y Discapacidad, organizadas por el Vicerrectorado de Estudiantes los días 29 y 30 de abril. Estas jornadas pretenden analizar a través de diversas mesas redondas los principales retos de la inclusión social de las personas con discapacidad y difundir los programas de inclusión de estudiantes con discapacidad, que en la Universidad de Oviedo cuentan con el apoyo y orientación de la Oficina de atención a personas con necesidades específicas (ONEO). The inauguration of these new installations coincides with the celebration of the University and Disability Days, organized by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Students, on April 29 and 30. These conferences aim at analyzing, through different round tables, the main challenges faced by the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, and also at disseminating the programs for inclusion of students with disabilities, who have the support of the Office for People with Specific Needs (ONEO) of the University of Oviedo.