Meet Accessibility Requirements in Athletic Field Structures
Ensuring facilities are accessible for users of all abilities is not only a good thing to do, it's also the law. Meeting the needs of concession, restroom and scorekeeper booths on an athletic field and ensuring code compliance can be a challenge. First you must determine the requirements, and then find the most acceptable solution for your area. You can provide a raised booth that will serve the needs of all.
Q: What should we know about requirements associated with accessibility for our concession, restroom and scorekeeper booths at our athletic field?
A: Athletic fields in parks and schools often require raised scorekeeping facilities to accompany the need for restrooms and concessions. But in some states, accessibility issues arise with "vertical lift" to the score booth for challenged scorekeepers.
In Florida, for example, the requirement is to provide vertical lifts for access to the booth, as well as meeting spatial requirements for the disabled in the floor plan of the booth itself. In most states under the International Building Code regulations, when the score booth reaches more than five individuals, vertical accessibility is required. Vertical accessibility is described as a wheelchair lift, which can be enclosed or open, internal or external. The approach and safety considerations also must adhere to code.
But providing such lifts can be extremely costly—anywhere from $50,000 up to $100,000 for a safe, vandal-resistant design.
The good news is that it is possible to meet the needs of the disabled without running your construction project well over budget.
Q: How can we meet accessibility requirements without the cost of a vertical life?
A: Provide a ground-level, slightly raised concrete platform with full view of the fields that a challenged individual can utilize to score a game from their wheelchair. To do this, the platform will need to be curbed, designed for drainage and easily reached via an accessible path of travel.
Today's remote scoreboard devices allow remote control of the scoreboard from a handheld device, making this solution possible.
To make scorers more comfortable, you should provide tenting or shading over the platform.
Utilizing this approach, the extreme cost and ongoing maintenance for a score booth complying with codes for accessibility are minimized, as is the scale of the floor plan for the booth.
Utilization of a circular staircase provides reasonable, safe access for the non-challenged scorekeepers to the upstairs facility.
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