The Communion of Saints, Part II

St Andrew Presbyterian Church

Yesterday I attended a meeting at the Inaccessible Church, and came away with real mixed feelings.

The purpose of the meeting was to get an estimate for accessibility changes to present to the congregation. There was an accessibility consultant who was referred to me by the local Center for People with Disabilities, and a contractor, recommended by the accessibility consultant.

My previous history with this church has been that they are aware that they need to make changes, but they have been scared away by the perceived price tag. My latest attempt has been to prioritize the changes that need to be made – concentrate on low-cost, high-impact changes, primarily making the restrooms accessible. The accessibility consultant, of course, saw and pointed out numerous other problems that should be addressed. He looked at the proposal for the restrooms, pointed out that now the swing of the stall door interferes with someone using the sink, and that the restroom entrance itself is not 32″ clear. So now the contractor is pricing moving sinks, widening doors and relocating electrical boxes as well.

Of course, he’s right. I’m afraid, though, that the choice is going to be between a completely compliant, $10,000 change that won’t be implemented and a non-compliant, somewhat more usable $5,000 change that might be implemented.

I could just be pre-emptively depressed. The proposal is going to the congregation this Sunday.

Here’s what the accessibility consultant carries around in his backpack: the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities.


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