New dormitories in Zlín: wheelchair users can’t go to the balcony

More than 120 million crowns were spent on new dormitories at Zlín’s Tomas Bata University (UTB). They were built by rebuilding the original dormitories from the early 1960s. The beauty defect is the rooms for the disabled, from which wheelchair users cannot get to the balcony through the raised step and the frame of the balcony door.

“A functional, modern, and aesthetic accommodation facility that corresponds to current trends in accommodation,” these are the words used by the university management to describe the reconstructed university halls of residence behind the Municipal Theatre in Zlín.

The university opened them on Monday. One hundred sixty-five students will find accommodation in ninety rooms. Plus, another ten disabled students in five rooms. These are the only ones with balconies adjacent to the kitchen. However, students in wheelchairs cannot reach the terraces through the narrow doors and the French window frame, even though university officials say the entire dorms are wheelchair accessible.

Several minor changes were made to the project during construction, according to Alexander Černý, the bursar of the University of Zlín. However, neither the investor, UTB, nor the designer noticed this obstacle in the construction of accommodation for the disabled.

Each room has sanitary facilities

The university decided to upgrade the dormitory building because of its age and the lack of comfort for students in the original structure.

“There were rooms without sanitary facilities; these were shared on each floor,” Černý explained, “but now there are double accommodation units on five floors, each with its sanitary facilities and a shared fully equipped kitchen located between the rooms.”

On the ground floor of the building, there is a breakfast restaurant, fitness center, laundry, bike room, and reception with a relaxation area. On the rooftop, there is a glass-enclosed dormitory restaurant.

Students pay roughly five and a half thousand crowns monthly for the dormitory and less than six thousand crowns for breakfast.

The reconstruction of the dormitories began in 2021. The total cost amounted to 124 million crowns. Of this, 93 million was spent on the actual reconstruction of the building. For 25 million, the university purchased furniture, and six million was spent on other equipment for the installation.

“Of these costs, CZK 71 million were covered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and CZK 53 million from the university’s resources,” said UTB Rector Vladimír Sedlařík.