Area volunteers, donations bring chair lift to CCH

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 way.

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 Campus House.