Accessibility at Our New Church Building

The Board of Trustees developed a vision statement in January to guide priorities for remodeling features in the building at 5509 S. Pennsylvania. The two overarching values that should be general priorities in all planning for the building and grounds were:

1. welcoming/ inclusiveness /accessibility and
2. environmental sustainability.

We are working to "create an inspiring home in which to welcome all (visitors and ourselves), with full accessibility that allows for full participation in congregational life for people of all abilities. This goal implies that, in addition to following ADA guidelines, we are committed to providing opportunities for worshiping together, studying and learning, and joining together as a community in many different ways, large and small.

• Different floor coverings (e.g. carpet, vinyl/wood, rubber) were selected for different regions of the building to mark transitions for those with limited sight
• The office/administrative work area will have a counter at wheel chair user in office work area.
• The break area in the office/administrative area will have a microwave and other features accessible for wheelchair users.
• One counter in the kitchen will be at wheelchair height, and spaces in the kitchen will accommodate wheelchairs.
• A clear path through lobby/foyer/coffee space and social hall has been designed, with access to the ramp that leads to the RE classrooms (which are on a level about six feet lower than the rest of the building). Informational materials are to be no higher than 48" above the floor.
• A hearing loop system (assistive listening) will be installed in the sanctuary (as we have now) and elsewhere in the building, thanks to a second Chalice Lighters grant from the MidAmerica UU District.
• Four new bathrooms will be constructed for accessibility/ gender neutral use in different parts of the building.
• Two ramps will be available from the floor to the stage in the sanctuary to facilitate participation by those with limited mobility; the ramps will allow direct access both to the front of the stage and to the backstage area.
• The lobby/foyer/coffee space has been designed to utilize the natural light of the current skylights and will have various types of seating and other features to be attractive and welcoming to all.