Larry Kline Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A courtyard being constructed at Montana State University-Northern this summer will work in several ways to solve handicapped accessibility problems at the school, officials said this week. The parking lot situated between Cowan Hall, the Fieldhouse, Hagener Science Center and the library is being torn out and replaced with the courtyard, which will include a winding walkway connecting higher MSUN grounds with lower areas. In the past, a person in a wheelchair trying to get from Hagener to the Student Union Building would have to travel by car, university spokesman Jim Potter said. The lot that’s being removed also included 8-inch-high curbs, installed to deal with drainage problems, that posed another problem for handicapped people, Potter said. “Everybody just thinks we’re building a nice courtyard ... it’s primary purpose is to create access for the handicapped,” Chancellor Alex Capdeville said today. “I think it’ll be nice long-term,” he added. “It’s going to be a little inconvenient right now.” A new lot will be constructed north of the science center, and the drive in front of Cowan is being turned into a one-way street with new parking spots. Workers also are tearing out and replacing a water line beneath the old parking lot. The courtyard and new lot will cost about $990,000, with about $350,000 coming from the school and the rest being paid with state money, chancellor Alex Capdeville said. That cost doesn't include the new water line. Curbs at the old lot were installed because the lot is built 18 inches higher than the entryways of the surrounding buildings creating an issue when rain falls. The drainage system at the lot wasn’t properly built, so the school has repeatedly had to tear out sections of pavement and replace them, Potter said. Work has begun at the courtyard, and surveyors are beginning to work at the site of the new lot, Potter said.