A large project to improve the look and general accessibility around the main entrance to the University has now been completed. Previously the area where the Michael Sadler Building meets the side of the Parkinson Building had sloping feathered steps on one side, and uneven ground without a clear pathway on the other. These feathered steps have been removed and replaced with a green area featuring a newly planted semi-mature tree. On the other side, the seating area has been redone with more attractive furniture, improved landscaping and clear accessible routes to allow easy access from Woodhouse Lane onto University Road. This includes removing a threshold step that made access under the archway difficult and could force people off the path and into the road.
The works are a continuation of the project that has made the Parkinson Building more accessible than ever. The steps have been replaced, handrails have been put in place and a new lift has been installed. This means that for the first time in its history it will be possible for all visitors, students and staff to enter the Parkinson Building together using the main entrance.
Dr Angharad Beckett, Associate Professor of Political Sociology and Joint Director of the Centre for Disability Studies, said:
“I felt that I just must write to say thank you for the fantastic development of the Parkinson Building Main Entrance. The lift for wheelchair users, or anyone who cannot climb the steps, is wonderful. My students (past and present) in Disability Studies, plus the wider community of scholars and activists in this area in Leeds and beyond are delighted to see it. They have observed that it is both beautiful and functional.
The reaction has been that it conveys a powerful message about diversity and inclusion at this University. No longer will those with mobility impairments enter the iconic building of the University via a side entrance (’round the side’). Now they will enter via the front door, like everyone else.
This is so important and something we are celebrating.”