Broken Arrow schools working to make buildings ADA compliant

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 4/30/2013 7:34 pm Published: 4/29/2013 6:37 pm

On Friday, FOX23 News revealed a Broken Arrow school that’s not currently properly equipped for students with disabilities according to ADA code. The school did meet ADA codes at the time it was built.
Oak Crest Elementary school will undergo a major construction project to meet current ADA codes with the construction being planned for this summer.

We told you about the story of Jonica Gaddy on Friday who says she was told she couldn’t park in a handicapped spot because it was interfering with the bus lane.
The school has since said she can.

Since our story aired, Broken Arrow schools tells FOX23 News they are going to make major changes to the building overall to help the needs of its special-needs students. The money will be used from a 2010 bond issue to fund the construction. Some of the renovations will include making the building one level and adjusting the height of the hand rails.

After telling you about the struggles of Jonica Gaddy who has a disabled child on Friday, our first question to the COO of Broken Arrow schools was why isn’t the school up to ADA code.

“The old codes told us that as long as you are an educational institution you could offer your programs in part of a building that was ADA compliant and you didn’t have to bring your entire facility up to ADA codes. The new codes don’t give us that exception anymore,” says Michelle Bergwall.

The Broken Arrow school district tells FOX23 that several of its school buildings have issues, and right now, they are taking surveys of each property to determine what needs to be done.It is working to bring all its sites up to current codes.

Jonica’s child, Jannessa is confined to a wheelchair and her mother says it’s imperative that her little girl have the access needed to get in and out of school safely.

We also spoke with Wilbur Barber. He is a Vietnam vet and an amputee. It’s a struggle for him to do the simple things like go to the store or even get in a car. He says all schools must make being ADA compliant a priority.

“When a child needs a lot of help to get around and they’ve got to be dependent on other people to get around, I mean that hurts their self-image,” says Wilbur.

Anything built after 1992, must be ADA compliant. If not, the Department of Justice could issue a fine.

Tulsa Public Schools tells FOX23 it is also working on some of its buildings. It is using money from a 2010 bond issue to take care of its ADA compliance problems. At this time, it’s not clear just how many buildings need to be brought up to code.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

chrisy82 - 4/29/2013 9:39 PM
1 Vote
My niece, Georgia, is 11 yrs old and has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was living in Tulsa, OK for the last year and a half. My brother, her father took her back to Alaska where she is better able to get the expensive medicines she needs. The Tulsa Public School she was going to claimed to be wheelchair accessible but would not allow her to use her chair at the school because the ramp was inadequacy for the teachers to use to bring in supplies for the classroom let alone a child in a wheelchair. I believe EVERY single school in the state should be required to meet current ADA requirements. Heck, Every state in America should make certain All schools meet the ADA requirements!

Mayor Maynot - 4/29/2013 7:45 PM
1 Vote
Hey Wilbur #8^]] Thanks for your service in the war!! Glad you made it home. More thanks for the valiant words when you speak up in protection of our youth no matter what.
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