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Accessibility issue clouds Kiski Area stadium project

| Friday, March 31, 2017, 11:21 p.m.

A planned $1.4 million stadium at Kiski Area School District high school campus is facing problems with requirements for access by people with disabilities.

District officials say the stadium's construction plans provide for disability access that complies with the American With Disabilities Act, but state inspectors are requiring changes to accommodate access from existing facilities on the campus. The campus includes the high school and the intermediate school.

The issue was flagged along with lack of a fire alarm system by Code.sys Consulting, which handles code enforcement for Allegheny Township, when it reviewed plans for the stadium.

The plan includes the addition of bleachers, a press box and restrooms to the stadium. A turf field and lighting have already been completed at the site.

The district is asking the state Accessibility Advisory Board for a variance on the more stringent requirement. It also is seeking a waiver on the fire alarm system from Allegheny Township.

The next possible date for a meeting on the disability access variance is April 20. No date has been set for a hearing on the variance for the fire alarm system.

Without the variance for the disability issue, the district would have to create a plan to allow access from all the older facilities including buildings, parking lots and other athletic facilities, said James Perlik, the school district's buildings and grounds director.

“We're just asking that whatever new construction we're doing will be ADA compliant, and not the entire campus at this time,” Perlik said.

As for the fire alarm system, Perlik said the township requires one because occupancy for the stadium would be more than 1,000 people during football games and other events.

Jim Bruwelheide, plan reviewer with Code.sys, said the district is going through proper procedures to make sure its plans meet state requirements and comply with all codes.

“Without further details, I can't make a final determination,” he said of the plans. “We need more clarification.”

Bruwelheide said state code requirements often are appealed, because the building code may not be specific enough for some projects.

“You can't write an 800-page book that's going to cover every single situation,” he said. “Maybe there are some requirements in the code that don't necessarily fit a specific situation.”

Perlik said the construction start date hasn't been determined, but the stadium is expected to be completed by August.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680 or emilybalser@tribweb.com

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