By: Steven Smeall

Roch Lafond, left, manager of Parking, Lockers, Coin-Ops and Card services with Dale Chimirri, a locker clerk, beside on of Algonquin’s current lockers for students with disabilities. A new model similar to this locker is being worked on and will be revealed soon.

Students with disabilities will have much easier access to their lockers when a project being undertaken by trades students is ready to launch.

Lockers will be programmed to open and lock simply with a swipe of the user’s student card. The project is being headed by Parking, Lockers, Coin-Ops, and Card Services who have provided a portion of the funding for the project.

“You’ll see from the design that it’s a very different locker that could be moved around,” said Roch Lafond, manager of the department.

The new lockers will be shorter than the current on campus. They will provide leg room for those who are in wheelchairs and the locker will be installed at a height to benefit the user.

“The hope is that we’ll have a fully functional locker that we can put into circulation for people to use,” said Lafond.

Algonquin currently has lockers around campus for students with disabilities, but they are nothing compared to what is expected to be released. At the moment the only difference between the lockers for disabled students to the standard lockers is merely the size and an easier to open lock.

With these new lockers, everything will be electronic and will be more adjustable for students’ needs.

“With the current accessible lockers that we currently have, they open up with a little unit; but this new one is unique as it opens electronically,” said Dale Chimirri, a locker clerk.

The locker has many other features planned as well. For example, students who tend to be forgetful will have nothing to worry about with these units.

“It’s a fail-safe unit as it will close if a student happens to forget,” said Chimirri.

The locker will also be fitted with a rotary lock which will keep it much more stable than the average locker around campus. The chance of someone successfully breaking into one of these lockers is slim to none.

All of this hard work goes to the credit of a small group of students, who have been doing their best to make sure this project is perfect.

“It’s basically split into three teams,” said Chimirri. “There are the technical writers who do the manual based on their design and the brochure and then there is the two sheet metal people who do the actual metal work and then there are the two who do all of the electronics.”

The team consists of students Vincenzo Marcantoni and Will Muth, who bend the sheet metal while students Mark Ferriss and Peter Hauguth handle the electrical portion of the project.

The students working on the project have some further improvements that they will be implementing.

“There will be an adjustable shelf. You’ll be able to put a few items in it,” said Marcantonio.

“There will also be a light in the locker, so when the locker opens up it will light up,” said Chimirri.

The work put into this project has raised the question of whether there are similar products available.

“We looked on the Internet to see if there is anything like this was in existence and even our suppliers don’t even have something like this in place. So I’m hoping that this is the first,” said Lafond.

The students have been working hard year-round to get the project to a nearly finished state and started putting on the final touches this semester.

“At the beginning of the semester we started bending the sheet metal,” said Marcantonio.

The group of students will get students with disabilities to come in to test out the locker, to make sure everything is working well. If not, the team will have enough time to fix it.

The team hopes to have the locker completely prepared to put on display at the upcoming Applied Research Day at Algonquin on April 12.