University of Louisville: Classrooms on the upper floors of older buildings
Accessibility issues for classrooms located on upper floors is not at all uncommon in older facilities. Is renovation the right solution? Not always. In evaluating 37 buildings on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus, we found that many of the classrooms located on the upper floors of historic and older buildings were difficult to reach. Even in buildings with elevators, transport was often problematic because the elevators were either too slow or had a small-load capacity.
Our planning solution for this problem was to suggest re-purposing these classrooms by converting them into office space. Even if used only as an interim solution, the University would gain time to weigh other options such as renovation or, perhaps, adding more elevators.
On the topic of elevators, Patterson Hall (on this same campus) is a good example of an older facility that has become more functional by the addition of an elevator tower. Because the new structure complements the original building’s façade, the overall effect enhances the design as well as functionality.