From Crumbled to Compliant

Dallastown High School’s stadium wasn’t the most accessible, but staff, students and families are incredibly proud of where it is now.
Dallastown families enjoy the new accessible seating that the American Legion Field at Wildcat Stadium. ADA compliance was one of the most important aspects of the stadium renovation.
Dallastown families enjoy the new accessible seating that the American Legion Field at Wildcat Stadium. ADA compliance was one of the most important aspects of the stadium renovation.
Katy Breault

From crumbling concrete to sturdy cement, Dallastown’s American Legion Field at Wildcat Stadium has undergone various renovations over the past few months, earning the right to call it ADA compliant. 

ADA compliance (also known as the Americans with Disabilities Act) prevents discrimination based on disability under civil law. For Dallastown, many projects would need to be conducted to be up to standard.

The stadium required fewer uneven surfaces, better handicap accessible seating, bathrooms, and parking. Theresa Lewis, the Community Relations Specialist at Dallastown, records how the stadium has enhanced the lives of students and staff. 

This section of the old stadium, built in 1958, had no handrails, no ramps, and no accessible seating. This structure was demolished and its replacement is fully ADA compliant. (Staff )

“The new bleacher section provides a wide ramp for wheelchair accessibility, wider stairs, and handrails.” Lewis said. 

Lewis then goes into more detail about how important these renovations were to the school, and how the size affected the renovation decision. 

“When the original grandstand was built, our graduating class was approximately 50 students.  Fast forward to today, where we now graduate approximately 500 students and you can imagine the impact to congestion, traffic, and safety concerns.” Said Lewis.

Though with a bigger school comes with a lot more support. On Sept. 1, the school had their first home football game, which Lewis said was a big success. 

“We welcomed almost 4,000 people to the new stadium. The stands were packed with nothing but positivity regarding the new stadium,” she stated. 

A family in particular has benefited from the revamping of the existing stadium. 

Katy Breault, a paraprofessional at Leaders Heights Elementary , and her family have been very keen on the idea of an ADA compliant stadium since the beginning. 

The new center structure has been updated to be fully ADA compliant. It also includes more general seating for events. (Isabella Wilkinson)

“We as a family were so excited to see Dallastown renovate to make it ADA compliant,” Breault said, “We never wanted to go to football games because it was not easy to get in the stadium with all the obstacles.”

Before the renovations the family faced many challenges such as the lack of handicap parking spaces which caused longer walks, the bathrooms with the small openings, and how the scarcity of wheelchair seating affected where her son, Andrew, could sit. 

Lewis stated that the ultimate goal was to give a safer facility for the students, staff, and families that inhabited it, while also providing ADA compliance. She shared how she had firsthand experience with the planning and collaboration on the stadium. 

“The stadium renovation has been a topic of discussion for the past 17 years and I was personally thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” Lewis said.

With the renovations complete, Breault’s family was ecstatic about how much more they could enjoy the stadium. 

“We went to the first football game of the season and we just felt so included,” Breault recalls. 

Dallastown students gather at the American Legion Field at Wildcat Stadium to see the first home football game of the year. (Katy Breault)

Breault mentioned how so much handicap accessible parking was built, ramps and handrails were put into place, bathrooms became extremely accessible, and now a larger opening to enter the stadium was added. 

The remodeled stadium not only benefited students and grandparents with mobility issues, but also moms with strollers. Breault was very pleased with this. 

“Now they can come and be safe while getting to their seats. It helps everyone, not just the disabled.” Breault said. 

The family was so excited for the stadium’s renovations and they couldn’t be happier with the results.

“We always felt included and now with the stadium done we feel complete!” Breault expressed.

ADA compliance helps the lives of so many disabled people, and makes mobility so much easier. Breault knew she wanted people to know that.

“Please please make buildings ADA compliant, it makes everyone feel welcome and not left out.”  

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