SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release

SF State campus commitment to inclusive landscape garners national award

The American Physical Plant Administrator’s Association recognized SF State for its inclusiveness and accessibility for students, faculty and staff with disabilities


SAN FRANCISCO, May 28, 2008 -- San Francisco State University’s Accessible Landscapes Project has received a national award from the American Physical Plant Administrator’s Association (APPA) for its multifaceted commitment to the accessibility of SF State’s campus.

The APPA’s Effective and Innovative Practices Award recognizes new or improved programs which benefit educational institutions for increased productivity or revenue, improved customer service or other benefits to the campus. The award includes a $4,000 grant and special recognition in APPA’s Facilities Manager magazine as part of the organization’s mission to elevate the value and recognition of facilities in education.

SF State’s Accessible Landscapes Project was initiated in the early 1990s to create a more welcoming, user-friendly campus. The ongoing project includes the use of gently sloping pathways as primary, rather than secondary paths; height- and width-adjustable, solar-powered furniture; and Sound Web, a series of solar-powered electronic playback devices that emit a pulse of uniquely discernable sounds that serve as audible cues to assist the visually impaired.

“Inclusiveness is a hallmark of a mature and forward-looking institution and certainly of a pre-eminent urban university,” said Phil Evans, director of campus grounds. “It takes effort, creativity and determination to develop a new idea well, and we have succeeded, thanks to the many individuals who have contributed energy and thought to this goal.”

With a constant focus on education, the project utilizes student help in all aspects, including initial brainstorming, conceptual design, construction modeling, project scheduling and management, production of publications and interacting with focus groups, classes and professional associations. The collaboration among staff, faculty and students reaches SF State’s Department of Special Education, Disability Programs and Resource Center, Engineering Department, Department of Design & Industry and the Universal Seating Design Studio, a program which formulates new ideas each year.

Senior Josh Williams, who has worked with many of his classmates on the Accessible Landscapes Project, takes pride in his work maintaining the Sound Web on campus. “People enjoy them as cultural objects,” said Williams, who has worked with the project since 2006. “The intention was to have them also be enjoyable to see. It’s for way-finding, but this brings it to a whole other level. I find that rewarding.”

The various ongoing projects also employ new sustainable technologies: solar power, recycled plastic lumber and other special means of enhancing environmental stewardship.

SF State is the only master's level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin.  The university enrolls more than 30,000 students each year. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communications arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University's more than 140,000 graduates have contributed to the economic cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.


Student Writer Lisa Rau contributed to this press release.



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