Trine University’s Christian Campus House (CCH) has added a mechanical chair lift
to make its facilities more accessible to those with disabilities.
In fall 2016, the university welcomed one of its first students who relied on a wheelchair
for mobility. Emily Clark, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, lives on campus,
plays in the marching band and is actively involved in CCH at Trine.
CCH has two facilities on campus that serve as venues for Bible studies and social
events, but unfortunately, the houses were not wheelchair-accessible. CCH quickly
made a temporary ramp to make it possible for Emily to participate in its events,
but the organization’s leaders knew they needed to address this issue in a more permanent
Trine University students from the American Society for Civil Engineers offered to
help, and with the assistance of Ryan Overton, Ph.D., chair of the Reiners Department
of Civil & Environmental Engineering, surveyed CCH’s property and began developing
several designs. CCH decided to pursue a mechanical lift that goes from its driveway
to the CCH Guys’ House, and to build a deck that would connect the Guys’ House to
the Girls’ House.
“The new lift gives other wheelchair users and me easier access to the CCH events
and community. It helps me independently get to my favorite place on campus,” said
Clark. “Seeing all these people come together and make this happen makes me feel included
and loved by my university and Christ-centered family.”
Volunteers from the Auburn Church of Christ built the deck with materials donated
by Solsberry Christian Church in Solsberry, Indiana. Vestil Manufacturing in Angola
designed and constructed the scissor lift, and Fetters Construction in Auburn donated
the concrete and labor for the foundation. A generous donation from Dr. Rick L. James,
a Trine alumnus and president of the university’s Board of Trustees, and his wife,
Dr. Vicki L. James, helped bring it all together.
“We are so grateful for all the assistance we received from companies, churches and
individuals. This has truly been a team effort, and we are so excited to be able to
better serve students like Emily,” said Travis Wilhelm, CCH’s lead campus minister.
Photo: Emily Clark sits in the new mechanical chair lift at Trine University's Christian