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ECC ramps up multimillion-dollar effort to correct ADA violations

Eileen Buckley

The Erie County Legislature has approved the first of several Erie Community College contracts to bring all three campuses up to federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards, costs that will eventually total several million dollars.When a college gets federal dollars, federal inspectors show up occasionally to take a look. For ECC's City Campus, that inspection was in 2017. Inspectors found problems, particularly ramps and bathrooms.

"As far as width of the ramp, the pitch of the ramp, how steep it is to make sure it’s safe for both our students and our staff, as well as visitors coming onto our campus," said ECC Interim President William Reuter.

That is why $800,000 in construction contracts were approved Thursday to bring a building more than a century old into compliance.

Reuter said the campus just completed "a major elevator renovation" about three months ago and the additional construction will resolve the remaining problems.

"We’re receiving federal funds. We have to meet the requirements. And we are embarking on making sure that all the instructions that they’ve given us in inspections to address the corrections and the action before the Erie County Legislature was contracts with a general construction builder, plumbing, mechanical and electrical," he said.

Albany will eventually pick up half the tab for work on the City Campus and possibly others.

Reuter said there will be more ADA-related contracts going to the legislature next month and in March for ECC's other two campuses.

"South has some issues, like all the HVAC is connected through one building, probably piped to the same six buildings. There are roof issues at all three campuses," he said. "Previous administrations, at the college and the county, deferred maintenance issues."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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