Ural Federal University: University Develops Accessible Environment for Students with Disabilities


In the Ural Federal University preparations for the new academic year are coming to an end. In the summer some buildings were repaired, including the academic building at 5 Sofia Kovalevskaya Street. Here work was carried out to create an accessible architectural environment for students with disabilities. For example, a lifting platform for wheelchairs, tactile tiles on the floor appeared in the lobby, and signs with classroom numbers were adapted for the blind and visually impaired: now they contain information in Braille and voice sounding.

“Now students in wheelchairs can move freely around the building, starting at the entrance. The electric platform is easy to use: you just need to push a button. The platform is comfortable to move around: the downward and upward movements are smooth. We have found the most efficient and safe solution for adapting the stairwell,” said Olga Orinicheva, Deputy Head of the Department of Property Management and Transportation at UrFU.

Two types of tactile tiles were laid on the floor of the porch and lobby for the blind and visually impaired: cautionary (helps to feel safe before difficult areas) and guiding (helps to calmly navigate in space, now it is easy to find the way to the coatroom, elevator, classrooms). Additional handrails were also installed on the stairs.

In total, the university has more than 200 students with different nosologies. Work on creating an accessible environment will continue in other buildings. New dormitories and buildings at the future Ural Federal University campus in Novokoltsovsky District are being designed to meet the requirements for an accessible architectural environment.

“We have now taken up this work very actively, and the university administration supports us. The more facilities appear at the university, the more applicants with disabilities apply to us. The large-scale adaptation of one of the academic buildings is just the beginning. Our goal is to create conditions for movement in all buildings of the university, so that every student and applicant would feel comfortable at the university,” said Olga Orinicheva.

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