Civic Center projects almost to ADA compliance

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The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center has been working on three projects to bring the building to compliance for the Department of Justice's Americans with Disabilities Act.

Civic Center Executive Director Craig Baltzer says the parking lot was a big task. 

"You had to change the grade, the slope of the road, which was humped and at a higher percentage degree than what allowed for a wheelchair. So we had to flatten everything - that meant digging everything up. So while we were digging everything up, we took the time to redesign it and do a program that makes more sense." 

All of the bathrooms also had to become ADA compliant, which Baltzer says gave them a different look. Sinks had to be moved and adjusted for height, which meant a redo of the wall tile.

The final step was a complete replacement of the hand rails, which turned into a bigger project than expected. The walls beneath the rails were not high enough from the steps, so an additional rail had to be added.  

The handrails are finished and the parking lot only needs a few finishing touches. The bathrooms are projected to be done in January before the Black Hills Stock Show.

The Civic Center Resolution Task Force in charge of meeting ADA guidelines was meant to present to the mayor and city council at the end of this year, but that time line has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2017. Currently, the task force is working on getting feedback on what companies in the area would like to see in the future Don Barnett Arena. Mark Joneson, the Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee says they are doing this by sending out economic impact reports.  

"Our hope there is that by bringing in companies that have experience in managing facilities that they would be able to give us some valuable input in terms of what sort of attractions we could bring in, what sort of concerts, conventions, that we could bring in in an updated facility compared to what we're bringing in right now." 

These improvements were contained in a $1.5 million renovation project approved by the Rapid City Common Council about six months back. These adjustments are not only to meet ADA requirements, but they are for life safety enhancements as well.

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