Stairs proves dangerous to pedestrians

by Sara Heim

While giving a prospective student and her parents a tour aroundcampus, sophomore student ambassador Clint Wallace took the fallfor Simpson College – literally.

After showing them the Blank Performing Arts Center, Wallacesaid he turned to talk about Bill Buxton Stadium when he caught hisfoot and – splat – became a victim of the treacherous steps outsidethe pool.

“I scraped my knee, got up, had a laugh and went about on mytour, but I didn’t go up the rest of the steps,” Wallace said. “Inever use those steps anymore unless I have to.”

Wallace’s tumble isn’t the only one of its kind.

Several students around campus have found the old stairway achallenging place to keep their balance.

“I view those steps as a challenge,” junior Becca Jackson said.”Sometimes I take all of them at once and sometimes I have to skipone or two.”

According to Bart Lane, director of campus services, typicalstairs are 18 inches – 7 inches of riser and 11 inches oftread.

“Depending upon the age and elevation of stairs, many do notequate to 18 inches,” Lane said.

Such is the case in the stairs outside the stadium that havedifferent measurements.

The first and the second steps are 5 inches tall, but the firstone is 12 inches wide while the other measures 8 inches.

The third step is 2 inches taller than the first two.

“If the stairs were placed inside a building then the maximumdifference between steps is three-eighths of an inch,” said ChuckBurgin, a building official for the city of Indianola. “But sincethe stairs are outdoors, it varies.”

This means that if one step were 6 inches, then the next stepcouldn’t be any more than 6 3/8 inches.

Obviously, the steps outside the stadium greatly vary from thisamount.

“If the stairs have been around for 20 years, the same codes maynot apply today,” Lane said.

According to Burgin, the code depends on the number of peoplewho have to use the stairs.

Lane also commented that there are plans to change the entirearea between the football field and Cowles Fieldhouse, but not anytime soon.

“After being asked about these stairs, I went out there to lookat them,” Lane said. “Out of the seven stairs there is one that isdefinitely a bit off.”

In a poll taken by 75 Simpson students, 63 believed the stairsto be hazardous and thought they should be fixed. 32 students evenadmitted falling on the stairs at least once.

“I always look at my feet and hold the railing when I go downthose stairs,” sophomore Brandi Stalzer said. “I don’t pay $25,000a year so that I can walk on crooked steps.”