Virginia Tech Americans with Disability Act (ADA) professionals Pamela G. Vickers and Michael Kutnak will educate New River Valley property managers on creating and maintaining accessible living spaces on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Blacksburg Fire Department Station No. 3, 407 Hubbard Street, and is being sponsored by the New River Valley Apartment Council. It is free and open to the public.

“The number of Americans who have a disability has increased dramatically in the last few years,” said Vickers, the university’s ADA coordinator. “It’s more important than ever that we ensure our neighbors have seamless access in all aspects of their lives.”

“Creating inclusive environments is something we really feel strongly about at Pointe West Management,” said Aaron Harris, a property manager and Realtor with the company. “Pam is well regarded locally and we are excited to have someone with her extensive knowledge of the ADA law and her experience putting those laws into practice available to lead this discussion.”

Kutnak is a second year doctoral student who works in University ADA Services in the Department of Human Resources' Office of Equity and Access.

He and Vickers will talk with attendees about how to effectively integrate accessibility into interior and exterior spaces, including pathways, fitness centers, and playground equipment. They will also address recent changes in the ADA as it applies to service animals.

According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 56.7 million individuals with disabilities within the United States, making disability the largest minority. Unlike other minorities, anyone can join at any time.

“In Virginia, at least one of every 10 people you interact with has a disability, whether you can see it or not,” said Kutnak.

Well known as a leader in higher education, Virginia Tech is also a leader in campus accessibility. University ADA Services reviews all new building plans on campus. The university also has an online Universal Access Campus Map that provides users with detailed routing information about accessible pathways and parking on campus. Office staff also survey campus accessibility and lead efforts to prioritize and address campus accessibility year-round.

University ADA Services works closely with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Services for Students with Disabilities, and other units to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, education, and programming at Virginia Tech.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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