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Still work to do on the state Capitol building for ADA compliance

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Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
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Facilities director John Boyle testifies before the interim Government Administration Committee

The Legislature and the state’s Office of Management and Budget have been working to make the state Capitol building in Bismarck more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But there’s still work to do.

"Today when I came in, the door wasn't working," said Trevor Vannett. He has a motorized wheelchair. "When I come up here, I always have to ask for help — ask for chairs to be moved in every committee room."

The Capitol’s public entrance was recently redone. But the doors aren’t working properly. State Facilities Director John Boyle told the Committee it’s because of negative air pressure from the building itself.

"We've ordered a sliding door," Boyle said. "If you use the new west sliding doors, it's going to match that."

The west entrance is for people who have card access to the Capitol.

But Boyle said he's still waiting for the new door to be shipped.

"It just takes forever to get product these days," Boyle said. "I apologize for it not being here and installed already."

Boyle also said the Legislative Procedures and Arrangements Committee and the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission will look at the plans for committee room and office doors. He said those doors will be replaced with wider openings. Boyle said the choice is a 36-inch wide door, or a 42 inch wide door.

Advocates for the disabled are pushing for the 42 inch option.

Roy Schultze, of the Dakota Center for Independent Living, said he’s a little frustrated with the timeline for the upgrades.

"Is it going to be a year before we can get going with this, because we have to from committee to committee?" Schultze said.

The Legislature appropriated $750,000 to do that work.

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