The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Testing Services relocation stirs mixed reactions

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Photo by Photo by: Wesley Holmes

The White Creek Apartments became the new home to Disabilities Services after the closure of Cain Hall.

 

Almost two months after Disability Services moved from Cain Hall to temporary housing near the White Creek Apartments, students continue to adjust to the new location’s benefits and drawbacks.
The department’s move from central campus to west campus is part of a temporary relocation process to clear the way for construction on a new hotel, conference center and parking garage in the Cain Hall lot.
For some students, the move has doubled travel time and restricted available study space. However it has also given the university the opportunity to redesign Disability Services’ physical space.
Nutritional science sophomore Erin Elliott is one of the 1,756 students who use Disability Services regularly to take tests. Elliott, who lives off campus, said riding a bus to campus and then riding a bus to White Creek doubles her travel time, and the building has some issues.
“The facility is just a lot smaller. The construction next to the portable [buildings] is kind of distracting while you’re taking a test because it’s louder than the other facility,” Elliott said.
University studies senior Kevin Flavin uses testing services for extended time and a controlled environment to take tests in. Flavin said getting to the new location adds about five to 10 minutes, but it’s something he adapted to. The only real issue he encountered, Flavin said, had to do with the amount of study space in the new location.
“Out there it’s like one small modular room and it’s got a couple couches at the corner of a wall, a coffee table, and a couple desks with computers and that’s it,” Flavin said. “It’s not very big at all.”
Director of Disabilities Services Kristie Orr said the new facility is a seven-minute bus trip from the MSC. With the move, Orr said the department was able to customize the design of their facility to accommodate students’ needs better.
“The main testing room used to seat 27,” Orr said. “Now [the White Creek facilities] seat 31 people, and when we buy new furniture, they’ll seat 40 to 50 people. So we actually have a bigger capacity here, which is really important, because we have more students and that was definitely an issue in Cain Hall.”
Orr said carpet will be put down over winter break to help with noise issues, and new furniture is being purchased to accommodate more students.
Economics junior Kaitlyn Kellermeyer relies on the testing services at White Creek to assist with her visual impairment. She said the facility runs smoothly, but can double her travel time.  
“The location itself isn’t terribly convenient,” Kellermeyer said. “Having to take a bus and go out to that area is time consuming, and on top of that, some of the physical accessibility of the outdoor space isn’t where it should be or where it will be.”
Psychology freshman Holly Weston uses testing services to accommodate her visual impairment and uses the testing center around 20 to 25 times per semester.
“I personally think that the move to White Creek is not a very good idea at all,” Weston said. “As from a personal perspective of a visually impaired student who cannot drive there, it’s not as easily accessible to get to via bus, bike or walking.”
Orr said the long term benefits outweigh the temporary inconvenience of relocating to White Creek.
“Long term — you know for us that’s really what we’re looking at — is when we move back into Cain Hall and we get to design the space to be what we need it to be for our students … That’s an incredible opportunity and that rarely happens,” Orr said.

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