The Campus Operations teams at King’s continue to make improvements in accessibility, demonstrating ongoing commitment to the Strategy 2026 enabler “a physical and digital estate which is integrated and accessible”.
King’s joined AccessAble over 10 years ago, a charity who provide online access guides for our campuses and residences. All our campuses feature on the AccessAble website. Recently we have commissioned AccessAble to conduct an Access Audit of our Strand and Denmark Hill campuses, with the aim of identifying improvements to make our sites easier to navigate for disabled people. The recommendations range from small minor amendments to large structural changes. This summer, Estates and Facilities have been focusing on delivering the smaller changes.
Denmark Hill Campus
At the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), these changes include the installation of automatic door openers, the upgrade of door push-pads with illuminated buttons and the upgrade of the inner entrance door to open automatically by radar sensor.
At the Weston Education Centre (WEC), automatic door openers and magnetic door holders have been installed as well as adjusting the heights of access card readers and buttons, so they are in easy reach of users.
Works have included the installation of a second lower coat hook on the back of bathroom doors, changing toilets seats so they are in a contrasting colour to aid people with sight impairments, adding grab rails in toilets, easy turn lock mechanisms, adding full-length mirrors in accessible toilets, adjusting the heights of buttons and switches, and installing some automated doors, including to the Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre.
In response to requests for height adjustable desks in study spaces and offices, flexible tables have been placed in areas known to be used by students and staff who need them, with a plan to add more once further requirements are known. This simple change can make a difference to people with mobility impairments or back pain.
Strand Campus Operations have started work on a project to review wayfinding (corridor and public space) signage across the campus with a view to enhancing and standardising, while also improving the presentation and structure to support neurodivergent people. By considering the font style and size, along with the background colour, we hope to help disabled people navigate our campus. It is the intention that the findings can be incorporated into future brand standards, as well as developing a programme to update and refresh all current wayfinding signage on campus.
The Denmark Hill Campus Operations team are also involved with these discussions and are looking forward to rolling a similar project out across Denmark Hill.
Improving the accessibility of our campuses is not limited to the Strand and Denmark Hill. The original space for wheelchair users to the rear of the Stamford Street Lecture Theatre has been improved as well as an additional space created. Additional works are now being scheduled for the winter break to include replacing the fire door at the front of the lecture theatre with an automated access door and creating two additional spaces for wheelchair users at the front of the lecture theatre.
Following the accessibility audits of our Strand and Denmark Hill campuses, we have since commissioned AccessAble to carry out similar audits of our Guy’s and Waterloo campuses which we hope to receive by Spring 2024 to help inform our Summer 2024 works and longer-term plans for these campuses.
Look out for the Purple Light Up campaign on 3 December, where Estates & Facilities staff will be taking part in the global campaign for organisations to show their commitment to accessibility by lighting up buildings across the King’s estate.