Broward County School district is the sixth largest in the US and the second largest in South Florida. It is estimated that 8% of students in the district have a mobility related disability. Given their numbers, there has been a significant amount of effort and planning put in to accommodate their needs.
During the past few years the percentage of students requiring acceptable accessibility equipment has increased. Despite the economic downturn, enrollment in schools has also increased due to population arrivals from the boom over the last ten years in South Florida. BCCS had to accelerate plans to accommodate students moving through the education system. This, combined with recent budget and staff reductions, has proven to be a testament in diligence and patience. Capitol budget funding and monies directed for the ADA provisions are scrutinized at all levels before being voted on by the board. Therefore, plans are being restructured to accommodate the most urgent needs, and some private funding has been required to complete projects that are already underway.
With the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, efforts have resumed to complete several projects. This includes finding a solution to our local high schools concern regarding accessibility to their stadium press box’s. Although this has been a needed accessibility project, the high cost of adding commercial elevators has kept projects of this nature on hold. Garaventa Lift Florida proposed the Artira inclined platform lift for these projects. The Artira model was closely examined by school architects, and building plan reviewers, to see if it would be an accessibility solution. The projects were recently approved, and the Artira’s will be installed this fall. Finally providing needed accessibility to those students with mobility related disabilities.
The press box accessibility issue is common, and the cost of adding an elevator continues to keep school districts from purchasing any accessibility equipment. The Artia provides a cost effective to these accessibility issues. Bleacher companies are also unfamiliar with the act of providing a design to add needed accessibility. Garaventa Lift is working with these companies to provide this access through both the factory and local efforts. The BCCS projects have succeeded in providing needed accessibility by working with the local school district, the general contractors, and the bleacher manufacturers. This collaborative effort also resulted in the savings of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for each school. The money each school saved provided needed funding for other accessibility projects within the school district. Garaventa Lift remains a trusted and respected vendor of accessibility equipment, and continues to work on upcoming design projects with the Broward County School district.