High schools’ wheelchair ramp and orchestra pit under review

July 19, 2011

By Laura Geggel

When they were built in 1997, the Skyline High School orchestra pit and a Liberty High School wheelchair ramp leading to the metals lab were in compliance with building codes.

But now neither are in compliance with building codes related to the American Disabilities Act, Issaquah School District Chief of Finance and Operations Jake Kuper said. A 2009-10 facility audit of the district found several areas of concern. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction carried out the facility audit and reported the results to the federal Office of Civil Rights.

“We are close to finalizing an agreement with the Issaquah School District so we can move forward on the compliance issues,” OSPI spokesman Chris Barron said. “We expect the agreement to be finalized by the end of July.”

At Skyline, OSPI auditors found that the school’s orchestra pit does not have wheelchair access.

One solution involves building a hydraulic elevator in the middle of the stage, but such a contraption would obstruct the view of the stage, district Director of Capital Projects Steve Crawford said.

The configuration of Skyline theater’s seats, stage and orchestra pit prevent remodeling for a ramp, he said.

District administrators are working with the OSPI to find a solution, though at this time none are feasible given the layout of the theater, Kuper said.

The auditors also reported that the ramp at Liberty was not wide enough and the grade of it was too steep.

District administrators have agreed to fix the ramp by no later than 2013. Liberty High School is undergoing a two-phase remodel, and the ramp issue will be addressed during one of those phases, Kuper said.

Since 1997, “we haven’t had any student access issues or complaints,” Kuper said about the Liberty ramp.

The facility audit also found several problems with door width in several locations throughout the district. All of those issues have been addressed and fixed, Kuper said.

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One Response to “High schools’ wheelchair ramp and orchestra pit under review”

  1. Anonymous on July 25th, 2011 12:35 pm

    This article is misleading. There have been no recent changes to ADA standards. What is likely is that the 1997 building codes were not in compliance with ADA standards.

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