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Orange County Register (California)

Birmingham Community Charter High School's football and track and field stadium has been reopened for outside use after closing recently due to a complaint filed that it didn't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The facility's reopening will allow it to still host the L.A. City Section track and field championships May 28. The City Section had begun to look at backup plans when the school closed use in early April.

The school worked with the L.A. Unified School District to push interim measures to mitigate the ADA concerns, Birmingham principal Bill Parks said. The school was made aware of the complaint, which stemmed from a September incident, in March, Parks said. He declined to go into further detail on the complaint's specifics but said it was mostly relative to restrooms and signage.

Birmingham has put up signage and has improved the path of travel for ADA patrons by reconfiguring parking, directing them to park on the North side of the field for close proximity to an entrance, Parks said.

Allaying the situation in a timely manner was important because the field serves as a hub for the Van Nuys community, Parks said. In addition to the field's use for the City championships and West Valley League finals, 38 different civic groups or community events make use of the field, he said. That includes the Valley Raiders youth track club and the Greater Van Nuys Rotary Invitational Track Meet on April 26.

"I knew how impactful it was going to be," Parks said of pulling the plug on the facility's use.

While the parking and signage allow the facility to be used in the interim, Parks said that all of the permanent fixtures to comply with ADA requirements - with the exception of restroom changes - will be in place "within a 60-day window, maximum." That will include improved, elevated viewing areas for ADA patrons.

Birmingham plans on building on to its restrooms rather than modifying, something Parks said will happen within a nine-month window.


April 20, 2014




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