Sunday, July 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA was the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities.
It was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush after a national movement led by disability advocates across all sectors of society, and people with, and without, disabilities who demanded equality in access to education, employment, and living conditions.
While the Egyptian Theatre was built long before ADA was in effect, continuous efforts by our non-profit organization have made a number of improvements in the last 15 years. Over $1 million has been invested directly towards ADA improvement projects in the Theatre. Even though most items are grandfathered in as they were installed prior to the ADA, it has always been out desire to go above and beyond the minimum requirements when we can.
- Seating was upgraded to include many more wheelchair accessible seating areas and to include aisle transfer seats.
- Fire Alarm system was completely replaced with a modern system that meets all ADA code requirements.
- An assistive hearing system was added and offers both headphones and neck loops to integrate with hearing aids.
- New front doors were installed that are wider and include an automatic opener.
- Exterior fire doors were replaced to meet current ADA standards.
- New restrooms include wheelchair accessible stalls, sinks, hand dryers, and ambulatory stalls which is an even newer requirement.
- The new concession stand on the first floor includes an ADA accessible station for the first time. Printed out photo menus are available in concessions as well for patrons with communication challenges.
- New drinking fountains have been installed that meet ADA standards.
- Improved aisle and stair lighting has been installed to meet current standards.
Our staff has gone through training with the local non-profit RAMP on interacting with patrons with a variety of disabilities. These lessons have been integrated into our volunteer training program.
We have also worked with local fire and police departments to include specific plans in our emergency procedures for patrons with special needs and different abilities.
While these are all great improvements, we know there is always more that can be done. It can be challenging taking a 90+ year old building and making it meet current standards while protecting its historical integrity. We continue to invest when we can to make sure that the Egyptian Theatre is safe and welcoming for all.
We look forward to more improvements in the future and encourage the community to let us know how we can make their visit to the Egyptian Theatre more accommodating and enjoyable.