UF expands resources for students with disabilities

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- Drew Dees, a Junior at the University of Florida is new to Cypress Hall.

"I've lived on my own for about three years in an apartment setting and yes, I made do but now I'm able to go independently, come and go whenever I want."

His dorm has lift systems that help him around his room.

"My family is just ecstatic because they've wanted something like this for a long time."

Now, more students with special needs will be able to have an independent college experience as UF increases resources for the Disability Resource Center.

"I'm just excited to have more funding and add more staff to the team so that we can help others."

Part of the university's plan is to add four more rooms at Cypress Hall.

Program directors say these enhancements will help students with mobility impairments."

"Imagine yourself at 20 or 22 years old when you're a college student all you want to do is be on your own and have access to a community and that's what we are going to be able to do,” Gerardo, Altamirano, the Assistant Dean and Director of the DRC.

The new rooms have remotes that control the blinds and doors.

Drew is especially happy about the walk-in showers.

"For 23 years I've had to get out of the bathtub head-first and thanks to Cypress Hall I will no longer have to do that,” he said.

The plan also includes adding a learning specialist and graduate assistant to the Disability Resource Center decreasing the student to staff ratio.

"I don't like to use the word normal but everyone with a disability, we want to live a normal life as possible and a facility such as this allows us to do that."

The learning specialist will be added by July 1st.

The center is aiming to have the additional rooms ready by Spring of 2019.