Virginia Tech® home

Physical Access

grassy quad in front of stone building with wide gradually inclined walkways

Virginia Tech is located in the mountains. As a longstanding institution with a military history, it has many historic buildings that were designed for able-bodied people. Efforts to improve the physical access of campus are continuous and make progress every year. ADA and Accessibility Services manages the access to physical structrures such as curb cuts, ramps, and other modifications. However, environments where physical access is not available can be accommodated in many ways.

Anyone who encounters any physical access issues on campus, should report them to the Office for Equity and Accessibility's Report a Physical Barrier form. You may use this form for things like an accessible door button not working, a sidewalk that is not cleared of snow, or a pathway in need of repair. 

Safety and Evacuation

For the housing environment, students can be placed on the evacuation list. This helps ensure that first responsders have a list of students who may need assistance during an evacuation. We also encourage students to be familiar with campus safety. This includes their residence hall evacuation procedures as well as the evacuation procedures for their classrooms in the event of a fire drill or other emergency situations.


SSD does not provide alternative transportation as an accommodation but can recommend options for getting around campus. BT ACCESS, a service of Blacksburg Transit, provides door-to-door transportation services for individuals with disabilities. Students with temporary illness and injuries may also use the BT ACCESS. BT ACCESS runs any time and in any service area that the regular BT busses do, but is not limited to bus stops. You must be eligible and apply to BT ACCESS to use the service following instructions found at the BT ACCESS website.

Accessible Parking

Accessible parking is available at multiple locations on campus. Students with disabilities who drive must have an on-campus parking permit and a DMV disabled parking permit displayed at all times when using accessible parking passes. Students who have a DMV disabled parking permit, but who do not have an on-campus parking permit, are subject to ticketing. Virginia Tech Parking Services maintains a list of Reserved Accessible Spaces page that explains accessible parking spaces and permits.  Additional parking information can be found on their Reserved Accessible Spaces page. Please note that accessible parking for events (i.e., Commencement, Athletics, etc) are handled by event organizers. Please check event websites and other information for particulars about a certain event.

Student or Group Events

Any university or student-group sponsored activity that requires travel should provide accessible transportation or ensure that accessible transportation for students with disabilities is provided, at no additional cost to the individual. Virginia Tech’s Fleet Services has information on accessible vehicles for rent. 

Furniture and Equipment

Disability symptoms are often non-linear. A person's needs may change over short or long periods of time. This may necessitate the use of alternative kinds of furniture or equipment. This most often takes the form of height adjustable tables and ergonomic chairs. SSD can work with students and facilities to place accessible furniture in classroom spaces. In the housing environment, SSD can work with housing facilities to remove inaccessible furniture so alternatives can be used.

Location Changes

Many physical disabilities and chronic medical conditions make using stairs difficult or impossible.  SSD can work with the Registrar's office, departments, or campus organizations to move classes or meetings to a space that is more accessible. Some classroom locations cannot be moved because of the nature of classroom activities, such as science labs, art studios, computer labs, or class size. When moving the location is not an option, SSD can work with the appropriate parties to determine equally effective alternative access plans. 

Common issues addressed:

  • Classroom accessibility: Elevators, power doors, restrooms, etc.
  • Classroom equipment: Accessible desks, chairs, lab equipment
  • Distance between classes: For students with mobility disabilities, classrooms may need to be relocated to accommodate needs.

Wheelchairs, Crutches, and Personal Attendants

Wheelchairs, crutches, or personal attendants are considered the responsibility of the student. SSD does not provide wheelchairs or crutches but can recommend local resources. Incoming students with mobility and transportation needs, or who need assistance learning accessible routes and navigating buildings, are encouraged to contact us, so we can connect with you and external resources.