• Architect Kevin Blackwell, Directorate of Public Works, demonstrates how to use the Garaventa Xpress II lift. The lift can be used by people with different types of disabilities and can hold up to more then 400 pounds.

    Architect Kevin Blackwell, Directorate of...

    Architect Kevin Blackwell, Directorate of Public Works, demonstrates how to use the Garaventa Xpress II lift. The lift can be used by people with different types of disabilities and can hold up to more then 400 pounds.

  • Chef instructor Kenneth Loresch, Cochise College, demonstrates how to use the Garaventa Xpress II lift inside the Educational Center. The lift will help students or anyone who has a disability maneuver around the facility easier.

    Chef instructor Kenneth Loresch, Cochise...

    Chef instructor Kenneth Loresch, Cochise College, demonstrates how to use the Garaventa Xpress II lift inside the Educational Center. The lift will help students or anyone who has a disability maneuver around the facility easier.

Fort Huachuca, AZ. - Additional Americans with Disabilities Act-related changes have been made on Fort Huachuca over the past month.

The Educational Center, Annex B, Cochise College, Young Hall, has undergone an ADA makeover from the parking lot to the restrooms, and everything in between. A concrete ramp and an electronic door and lift have also been installed.

"The concept is once you get out of the vehicle, it's from the vehicle all the way into the building and throughout the building. That's why it starts with the parking lot, the ramp, through the door, down the stairs because [disabled people] have to get to the restrooms, so the restrooms have to be in compliance. It's really a total package, not just the lift," said Kevin Blackwell, architect, Directorate of Public Works.

The parking lot was re-graded to be in compliance with the ADA-compliant slope. Handicapped parking signs are also being installed along with parking bumpers as well as a dip in the concrete curb to allow unrestricted access to the new concrete ramp. This ramp, with hand railings, helps people with disabilities get up to the platform where the entrance door is located. The old door was an older style wooden door; it has now been changed into an electric door with an electronic button which is pressed to open the door for ease of use.

Previously, there was no way to get down the stairs inside the building without some type of assistance. A brand new incline lift has been installed as per ADA compliance. People can actually roll onto the lift with a wheelchair or walk onto it with a walker or cane. It also has a seat.

"So no matter what your disability is, you can get down the stairs, back and forth, unassisted," Blackwell said. The lift also gives easy access to the restrooms.

Both the men's and women's restrooms have been remodeled with ADA-compliant fixtures; the sinks, toilets and other areas have a five-foot radius. "This project has been in the works for a couple of months as far as planning, but now we are at the end phase to where we are just about done with everything," Blackwell said.

"We had a military installation voluntary education review about two years ago and [the inspectors] noticed that this building was not ADA compliant, and Cochise [Community College] also went through an accreditation visit about 18 months ago, and they also requested that the building be made ADA compliant. So we submitted a request to DPW. … They went to work on it, made it a high priority, and today we have handicapped access to the building and it's ADA compliant," said Sharon Lewis, education services officer.

Prior to the changes, if a handicapped student needed to take classes with Cochise College, the school would move those classes down to an ADA-compliant building. "So until we got [the ADA-compliant upgrades] we had to move the whole class. Obviously we can't move culinary arts, so they just could not take those courses unless they got pulled up the stairs somehow," Lewis said.

Currently there are no students with disabilities enrolled in the program. "Now everybody can participate; there are no limitations," Lewis said.

Page last updated Wed November 14th, 2012 at 00:00