APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards
Congratulations to the Winners of the 2012 APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards:
Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center in College Station
White Rock Hills Branch Library in Dallas
The Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) in partnership with the Accessibility Specialists Association (APA) has announced the winners of the annual Accessibility Awards. The awards recognize businesses and organizations that have gone Above and Beyond the legal requirements to provide both physical and service accessibility to people with disabilities.
Nominations for the Awards were submitted by individuals and organizations from communities throughout the state. Site visits and interviews were conducted by Registered Accessibility Specialists who are members of the Accessibility Professionals Association (APA), and by local community contacts familiar with disability service issues.
The winners will be honored at the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the APA Annual Conference and Training on Thursday, January 24, 11:30am, at the Austin Marriott Hotel North, 2600 La Frontera Blvd in Round Rock. For more information on the awards and the event, contact Jo Virgil, Community Outreach and Information Coordinator for the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities at or 512-463-5740, or contact Fred Cawyer of APA, at or 972-285-2445.
2012 Accessibility Award Winners
Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center (College Station)
401 Joe Routt Blvd
Owner: Texas A&M University; Sherry Wine, Director of Operations
Design Professional: Perkins & Will, Dallas - Richard Miller, primary contact
Construction Team: Vaughn Construction, Houston
Originally built in 1951, the Memorial Student Center (MSC) is popularly known as "The Living Room of Texas A&M." Dedicated to Aggies who have given or risked their lives in the military, the MSC underwent an extensive expansion and renovation in early 2012, focusing on the intent to preserve the original design. Both the new 100,000 square foot expansion and the 340,000 renovation incorporate a dedicated focus on a sense of community and accessibility to all; in fact, people with disabilities and a professional accessibility consultant were employed to help with design plans and to provide input on everything from physical accessibility, to fully accessible signage, to staff training on disability etiquette.
The physical layout utilizes abundant natural light, open floor plans, wide corridors. All exterior entrances have automatic openers and their clearances exceed legal requirements. Attractive ramps and paved walkways turned the original jumble of stairs, steps and obstacles into a fully accessible facility, including the courtyard. Because of the MSC's Above and Beyond attention to service accessibility, the recent evacuation of the A&M campus due to a bomb threat was successful in making sure that all students, including those with various disabilities, were able to be safely evacuated in a short time.
White Rock Hills Branch Library (Dallas)
9150 Ferguson Road
Owner: City of Dallas Public Works and Transportation - Terry Williams, City of Dallas
Design Professional: HOK - Stephen Brookover
Construction Team: JC Commercial, Lewisville
The new construction of the Dallas Library's White Rock Hills Branch focused on both environmental impact and full accessibility. Interior and exterior doors open automatically and the Information Desk is situated at a functional height for accessibility to all. Aisles in the library are wide enough for easy navigation for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. The building design allows for excellent natural lighting.
The staff is specifically trained in People First language and disability etiquette, including appropriate interaction with service animals, familiarity with the ADA and a respect for privacy issues. Large screens are available for self-checkout, and books throughout the library are in easily reachable range - none on very high or bottom shelves. The branch carries a wide variety of audio books and Large Print books. During the construction design, comments were solicited from a librarian with a disability to give a wider perspective on making the branch library accessible to all.
About the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards
Since 2010, the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) has worked with the Accessibility Professionals Association (APA), formerly known as the Texas Registered Accessibility Specialists Association (TRASA), to recognize businesses and organizations that go significantly above and beyond the legal requirements of both physical and service accessibility for people with disabilities. Nominations can be submitted by accessibility specialists, building owners or managers, or by appreciative public citizens. Site visits are made by APA professionals to inspect physical accessibility and by professionals familiar with disability issues to inspect for service accessibility (friendliness of staff, easily accessible accommodations, innovations such as Braille menus, etc).
You can read more about the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards in the awards program brochure:
See the Submission Guidelines below for more information. Nominations are due in the fall of each year, using the official Nomination Form below.
Winners of the award are selected in several different categories, including Recreation, Education, Medical and Health Services, Restaurant and Entertainment, others. Each year, the winners are recognized as part of APA's annual conference in January. For more information on the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards ceremony, contact our office at or 512-463-5739, or contact APA at or 512-415-5938.
Above and Beyond: Service Accessibility
Suggestions for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for ALL people to help make your business or service stand out
Visit the APA/GCPD Accessibility Awards Winners Page for information on previous winners.