INDIAN TRAIL – Indian Trail Town Hall is filled with marble floors, conference rooms, offices, a council chamber and views of downtown. But the building is missing one thing.
Mayor Michael Alvarez informed the council at its Jan. 7 meeting that none of the doors in town hall have ADA-accessible buttons, which would automatically open doors for those in wheelchairs trying to get inside.
Town hall opened in December 2017.
Town Manager Patrick Sadek said when he and his staff reviewed and discussed plans for town hall with a licensed architect, the architect told them the buttons were not a requirement. Still, Sadek recognizes the need for them.
“We’ve received comments from some residents that they were using wheelchairs to access the building, so we did do diligent work communicating to the architect,” Sadek said. “He came in twice so far and we did not do anything because the architect told us it’s not required to have that button on the door.”
Councilman Jerry Morse asked if the architect would face any legal recourse for not installing accessible entrances to town hall, but town attorney Karen Wolter said since it is not legally required, the architect probably would not face legal recourse.
However, Wolter said adding the buttons is a reasonable request.
“It would be an accommodation that would be a reasonable and probably expected access component to any public building, though possibly not legally required under architectural rules,” Wolter said.
Installing ADA-accessible buttons would come with a cost, along with the need to remodel part of town hall, according to Sadek.
“If we decide to go that route, we need to remove the entire wall for the door,” Sadek said. “That door and those panels cannot be modified, so we need to remove the whole thing and find something else.”
Sadek said replacing the wall would also include adding more security. He called the process “the whole nine yards.”
Searching for an alternative option, Alvarez asked if any ADA grants would be available to apply for. Sadek said these grants are usually given for sidewalks and ramps outside of buildings, not for accessible doors.
Sadek will provide a detailed packet of cost estimates and potential risks at a later date.