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Leading the Way: Accessibility

Signs for All.

Recommendation Report for
UNM Accessibility Center
Presented to: The head of UNM accessibility center

Proposed on
November 20th 2015
By Samantha Snyder
Accessibility and Wellness consultant

Table of Contents

Abstract.. 1
Introduction... 2-3
Final Rec. & Conclusion.7


Recently, there have been issues when it comes to finding accessible locations in some of UNMs
buildings for those who are disabled. The main focus is on posting signs with universal design
symbols and braille to help those people find ways to get where they need to be in an effective
way. My recommendation is to post these signs where they would be prominent and seen by all.
This measure will reach the most people and will provide the best possible solution to this


I was hired by the President of The University of New Mexicos main campus to
investigate problem areas when it comes to successfully navigating buildings that do not
have accessible areas marked. As a result, the people were either late or just giving up
searching for these areas. The President then asked me to write to you, the UNM Office
of Accessibility. There are a few different options I have seen fit for solving this problem.
These include having staff members escort people to the areas they need to go or to
make maps of the school including accessible areas available to a larger audience. Both
seemed pretty ineffective not only cost wise but it would also require effort that just
seemed futile. I narrowed it down to just one that seemed like the most logical choice for
you to follow.
The plan includes one really logical step to follow. This step is to locate the problem
areas on campus and mark them down. The next thing is to place the signs in the
designated areas also marked down. They must be placed in heavily trafficked areas and
spots that are noticeable and will not be missed.

This can also ward off people with disabilities from even attending this college
due to the poorly represented accessibility. Nearly 11.1 percent of disabled people are
college aged students. (nces) If the students were all equally distributed throughout the
United States, this would mean 4.5 percent reside in our state. It does not seem like

much, however, but with rising tuition and book costs of about $1,500 per semester for
those with the lottery scholarship and $4,000 for those without, the lost revenue really
speaks for itself.


It is a fact that many Americans are living with a disability. In 2010s U.S. census,
over 19 percent of the population, or 56.7 million people, have some form of disability.
(census) This is a staggering amount that I am sure people are not aware of. 8.1 million
cannot see well or are blind. (census) 30.6 million have trouble using the stairs/walking

and as a result, are in a wheelchair or on crutches. (census) Therefore, by not having

signs that show people the way to accessibility, they are significantly hindered from
getting to where they need to go in a timely manner.

Above is a map outlining the three levels of the Student Union Building. This is a
heavily populated area for, not only the students, but for visitors as well. It is a central
part of the campus and naturally it is very large in size and can be confusing to find
elevators. On the picture shown above, there are places that are marked with red stars.
The red stars indicate places where the universal design signs would be placed in the
SUB. They are areas that everyone looking for an elevator would pass by. There are only
nine signs required in the beginning stages of this, however, if more are needed,
additional signs can be placed in key areas at a later date. By choosing these areas, we
can see if they are effective or if more need to be placed in the future. We will locate the
most heavily trafficked areas such as by the entrances/exits, by the food court, and on
the third floor quiet space. Placing signs with arrows and universal designs leading to
elevators will help alleviate confusion that may occur when navigating the SUB. The
early test stages of this will only include nine signs and take place in the SUB. If it is a
success, then it will be a widespread effort to include these signs all around campus.

The results have been phenomenal. There are now little to no complaints on the
layout of buildings and the difficulty of finding accessible options. People have been
seen using the signs for guidance and have also been asking for help from staff working
in the SUB who direct them to the signs. This success is just a minor one in the grand
scheme of things, but with results like this in only one building, this is bound to be the
solution we have been looking for. The other two projected solutions would definitely
not have worked in a case like this due to staff availability and the additional costs

needed to re-map and print new maps containing updated information. The signs would
cost approximately forty dollars a sign. $40.00 per each of the suggested nine signs
would result in a price tag of $360 dollars for the SUBs signs. Then implementing this
on the rest of the school would be a one time fee. The results are simple, cost effective
and work well in its test stages. It is the foolproof plan for a simple solution. The once
problem that can potentially ward off people with disabilities from even attending this
college, due to the poorly represented accessibility is now a solution made easy through
adding some signs to help lead the way for some people who need it the most. If the
latter were to become a reality, the school would lose an estimated 400,000 dollars from
a potential 2,000 disabled students per semester. Thats over 800,000 per year which
can have some devastating results. By putting in signs for a one-time fee of 360 dollars
seems like a much better solution. This way people can go to a school and be confident
that their needs are met in a simple way

Discussion of Results
As previously stated above, the first two suggestions I offered to you absolutely
would not be an effective solution. The first would be taking staff members in the
buildings away from their jobs to show people the places they need to go. That, or
additional people will have to be hired to do this. This would cause lost money on
paychecks for new employees. By having human guides, the people can have a surefire
way to get to where they need to go on time. This would definitely cost more than signs.
The second option of printing maps would not be a good solution either since the people
would have to go searching for the maps and those who have impaired vision would not
benefit from this change. This would also be a heavy cost every time a few thousand
maps need to be printed in order to keep them in circulation. That is definitely not a
good solution since the student body would likely be paying for that change through
hikes in their tuition.

Final Recommendation and Conclusion

That brings us to the last solution of the universal design signs. They are a onetime cost solution to this issue. As discussed in previous sections, the test site, which
was the Student Union Building in the heart of UNMs main campus, provided excellent
results. This is the way to do things, the solution to all the problems people who navigate
the school need. People are sure to appreciate this simple and cost effective way to help
show people to the places they need to go in order to be helped. The school will also be

happy that they are not losing a potential 800,000 dollars a year, this way everyone
wins when it comes to these signs. For my closing statement, I suggest this as it is simple
and will save a whole lot of people the trouble they have to go to on a daily basis. By
doing our part to make sure they are comfortable and treated like everyone else, we are
one step closer to being a more accessible school.


Fast Facts: Students with Disabilities. Institute of Education Sciences. National

Center for Education Statistics. 2013. Web. November 20, 2015. (FIGURE 2)

Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S., Census Bureau Reports.

United States Census Bureau. 2012 Version. United States Census Bureau, July 25,

2012. Web. November 20, 2015. (FIGURE 1)