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Volume 68, Issue 69, Wednesday, December 4, 2002


Disability service gets new facility

By Sheree Stubblefield
The Daily Cougar

The Center for Students with Disabilities will soon be moving into a brand new building with more space, better facilities and a name honoring a UH alumnus who championed the rights of the disabled.

CSD, which now resides on the third floor of the Student Service Center, is expected to be moving into the new 6,000-square foot, one-story facility the first week in January.

The goal of the CSD is to "do what it takes to help students," said Cheryl Amoruso, the director of the CSD. 

The services offered in the new building, including a computer lab and six soundproof testing centers, are free to all students registered with the center.

The new building, which will be the first at any major Texas university to be specifically designed for disabled students, will be named after Justin Dart Jr.

He graduated from UH in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in political science and got his master's here in 1954 for history. Dart was known for promoting diversity, Amoruso said. While he was a student, he founded the Integration Club, which was committed to that goal.

Dart contracted polio in 1948 and was confined to a wheelchair thereafter. Despite his disability, he founded Japan Tupperware Inc. In 1990, because of his role in advocating the bill, Dart was at then-President Bush's side when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed. He died June 22 this year, at age 71.

A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for January, and Yoshiko Dart, Justin Dart's widow, will be attending.

The CSD has been operating at UH since 1979, before disability centers were required. It offers services to students with health, visual, hearing, psychological and learning disabilities, whether temporary or permanent. It helps students "obtain accommodations to help them succeed in school," Amoruso said.

CSD currently serves 730 students, which Amoruso said is double what it served last year. The newly built center cost $1.2 million, and was funded by the Office of Student Affairs. Construction of the project, which has been 10 years in the making, was postponed from Summer 2001 until March 2002 because of Tropical Storm Allison. 

When it came to the designing of the building, CSD was "involved in every aspect," Amoruso said. "(It was) quite a learning experience."

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