Life of handicap buttons reduced by excessive abuse

By Tobias Cheng, Staff Writer

Automated doors will replace push buttons in four existing buildings and will be installed in the three new buildings of the Campus Center and Classroom Project, Building and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.

Many of the push-buttons to open doors around the Contra Costa College campus for disabled students often do not work because physically healthy students do not just “use them, but abuse them,” said Richard Stollings, instructional assistant at the Disabled Students Programs and Services.

While all exterior doors should have the buttons, King said, “I personally dislike push buttons,” The buttons’ signal senders are battery powered, and as a result, require much more maintenance than an automated door with a motion sensor.

“Unfortunately, we have some very good soccer players here” who will kick the foot-height buttons to open the doors, which can break the buttons, King said.

According to the California community college state Chancellor’s Office’s website, there are 590 students with a disability at CCC. Stollings said that often when the buttons are needed by any of these students, they do not work because other students have broken them.

King said that because each of the 22 buildings on campus has multiple buttons, they are broken on a weekly basis. Broken buttons can be reported to the Building and Grounds department and are frequently repaired within a day.

Stollings said that even if Building and Grounds fixes the buttons, they do not stay in working order for long.

The number of non-disabled students using the push buttons means that the buttons wear out much faster than if only disabled students used them.

In five minutes, four students walked through the manual doors into the Applied Arts Building while 19 used the push button door.

Josiah Garcia, a high school student taking classes at CCC, said, “I just go through (the doors) because everyone else pushes the buttons.”

Because of the unreliability of the push buttons, there is a project to put automated doors in the Computer Technology Center and the Art, Gym and Gym Annex buildings, King said.

The three new buildings in the still under construction Campus Center will have automated doors as well.

The Student Services Center, Early Learning Center and the Music and Liberal Arts buildings have automated doors installed already.

“Automated doors are the way to go,” King said. Even though there are about eight doors to enter the SSC, “(most) everyone likes to enter through the automated doors.”

Stollings said, “(Many of the) buildings are too old to do anything with,” and that putting in new doors would be dangerous.

Stollings also said that CCC lacks a lot in serving the disabled students.

For example, he said, there is a ramp to the Bookstore, but no button to open the door. He said that even though a student could open a door for another student, disabled students like their independence.