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Compliance Review
Montana Tech of the University of Montana

August 31, 2010

Dr. Frank Gilmore
Chancellor
Montana Tech of the University of Montana
1300 West Park Street
Butte, Montana 59701

Re:      Montana Tech of the University of Montana 
OCR Reference No. 10086001

Dear Dr. Gilmore:

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has completed its investigation in the above-referenced compliance review.  The purpose of the review was to determine whether the college discriminates against students, employees, and visitors on the basis of disability by failing to provide appropriate physical accessibility to the college’s facilities, programs and services.

This review was conducted pursuant to OCR’s authority to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  The Section 504 regulation at 34 CFR Part 104 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.  The Title II regulation at 28 CFR Part 35 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public entities.  The college is a recipient of federal financial assistance from the Department and is a public entity.

The specific issue investigated by OCR during this review was whether the college is in compliance with Section 504 and Title II by ensuring that individuals are not denied, on the basis of disability, the benefits of, or participation in the college’s programs and activities, or otherwise subjected to discrimination because its academic programs and residence halls are inaccessible to or unusable by disabled individuals in violation of 34 CFR 104.21 and 28 CFR 35.149.

As discussed below, OCR identified compliance concerns under Section 504 and Title II with respect to the issue reviewed.  The findings of fact and conclusions set forth below are based upon a review and analysis of written information provided by the college, interviews with college staff and students, an on-site accessibility assessment of selected facilities and features of the college campus conducted by OCR from August 18 - 22, 2008, and supplemental information received from the college since completion of the on-site.  In order to address the compliance concerns identified by OCR, the college has agreed to take the voluntary remedial actions set forth in the enclosed Settlement Agreement.

Findings of Fact

General

The recipient is a 4-year college with an enrollment of over 2,100 students located in Butte, Montana.  The college has 38 buildings located on a 159-acre campus, including two residence halls, a library, a student fitness center and athletic field, and a student union building.  Construction of the campus buildings began in 1900 and continues to the present. 

Policies, Procedures, Practices, and Notices

Under the Section 504 and Title II regulations at 34 CFR 104.22(f) and 28 CFR 35.163(a), the college is required to adopt and implement procedures to ensure that interested persons can obtain information as to the existence and location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.  The college must also designate at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with and implement its responsibilities under Section 504 and Title II.

The college provides information about the Disability Services Office and its disability-related and accessible services in written format in various publications and on the college website.  This information includes the names, locations, and telephone numbers of persons designated to provide and coordinate such services, along with information regarding the college’s responsibilities and students’ rights under Section 504 and Title II.  The college also has established disability-based grievance procedures.  Because the college has designated a Section 504/Title II coordinator and has disability-related policies and procedures consistent with applicable regulations, OCR concludes that the college is in compliance with Section 504 and title II at 34 CFR 104.22(f) and 28 CFR 35.163(a). 

Facility Accessibility

Under the Section 504 and Title II regulations at 34 CFR 104.21 and 28 CFR 35.149, recipients and public entities may not exclude from participation in or deny the benefits of its programs, services, and activities to individuals with disabilities because its facilities are inaccessible or unusable by such individuals. 

The Section 504 and Title II regulations include two legal standards for providing accessibility to people with disabilities, depending on whether the facilities are “existing facilities” or “new construction.”  Under Section 504 at 34 CFR 104.22, existing facilities are facilities constructed on or before June 3, 1977.  Under Title II at 28 CFR 35.150, existing facilities are facilities constructed on or before January 26, 1992.  Both laws require recipients and public entities to operate the programs, services, and activities conducted in their existing facilities so that, when viewed in their entirety, they are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  This may be achieved through redesigning equipment, reassigning classes or other services to accessible buildings, assigning aides to beneficiaries, altering existing facilities and constructing new facilities, or other methods that result in making the programs and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. 

Under Section 504, facilities constructed or altered between June 3, 1977, and January 17, 1991, must comply with the American National Standard Specifications for Making Buildings and Facilities Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped (ANSI A117.1-1 961 (Reaffirmed 1971)) or substantially equivalent standards.  Under Section 504, facilities constructed or altered between January 18, 1991, and January 26, 1992, must comply with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or substantially equivalent standards.  Under Section 504 and Title II, facilities constructed or altered on or after January 26, 1992, must comply with UFAS, ADAAG, or substantially equivalent standards.  See 34 CFR 104.23 and 28 CFR 35.151. Public entities have a choice of which standards to follow.   However, once an entity selects a standard for a facility, the same standard must be used for the entire facility.  The college stated that it uses the ADAAG standards to achieve compliance with Section 504 and Title II in its new and altered construction. 

Depending upon the date of construction, some facilities may be considered existing facilities for the purpose of Title II but may also constitute new construction under Section 504 (i.e., facilities constructed after June 3, 1977, but before January 26, 1992).  In these cases, public entities/recipients must meet the standards for existing construction under Title II and the standards for new construction under Section 504.

A.   The Science and Engineering Building was originally constructed in 1925 as the campus gymnasium.  Alterations to construct classrooms, laboratories, offices, a lecture hall and an elevator began in 1978 and were completed in 1982.  Accessible signage and automatic exterior door openers were added in 1998 and 2002, respectively.  Because the alterations were completed in 1982, OCR assessed this building under the ANSI standards.  OCR found that the following deviations from the ANSI standards:  

1. The first floor identified accessible male restroom, room 107, has hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter that are not covered or insulated. ANSI 5.6.3.

2. The first floor identified accessible female restroom, room 103, has hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter that are not covered or insulated. ANSI 5.6.3.

3. third floor identified accessible male restroom, room 332

  • The opening of the urinal basin is more than 19 inches from the floor. ANSI 5.6.5.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated. ANSI 5.6.3.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width and does not swing out. ANSI 5.6.2(3).


4. The third floor identified accessible female restroom, room 329, has a toilet stall door that is less than 32 inches in width.  ANSI 5.6.2(3).

5. The hallway steps adjacent to room 317 have at least one handrail that does not extend at least 18 inches beyond the top and bottom steps.  ANSI 5.4.3.

6. The hallway steps adjacent room 312 have at least one handrail that does not extend at least 18 inches beyond the top and bottom steps.  ANSI 5.4.3.

B.  The Student Union Building was originally constructed in 1960, and was remodeled in 1998.  Therefore, OCR assessed this building under the ADAAG standards.  OCR found that the following deviated from the ADAAG standards: 

1. The second floor identified accessible male restroom, room 208, opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

2. The second floor identified accessible female restroom, room 207, opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

3. The south side automatic door openers are inoperable.  ADAAG 4.13.12.

C. The Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building (HPER) was constructed in 1980 and underwent an alteration in 1985.  The alteration added extensions on the north, east, and west sides of the building.  These extensions house administrative offices, classrooms, weight rooms, racquetball courts, and restrooms.  Based on the building’s date of construction and alteration, OCR assessed this building, except for the basketball court, under the ANSI standards.  The basketball court in the HPER was renovated in 2007 and included new flooring, bleachers, and scoreboard.  In determining the bleacher’s compliance with Section 504 and Title II with respect to the accessible seating capacity, OCR utilized the ADAAG standards because the renovations were completed in 2007.  OCR found that the following deviated from the ANSI or ADAAG standards, as applicable:

1. The basement floor identified accessible female restroom has hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter that are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.

2. The first floor identified accessible male restroom has hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter that are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.

3. The first floor identified accessible female restroom has hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter that are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.

4. The bleachers provide seating for between 1,800 – 1,900 persons.  Of these, 6 are designated as accessible and are located on the first row.  In that regard, OCR found that the basketball court deviated from the ADAAG standards by having less than 20 designated accessible seating spaces.  ADAAG 4.1.3(19)(a).

D. The Library was constructed in 1977.  Automatic door openers and accessible signage were installed in 2007.  Based on the building’s original date of construction, OCR assessed this building under the ANSI standards.  OCR found the following deviations from the ANSI standards:  

1. second floor identified accessible male restroom

  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width and does not swing out.  ANSI 5.6.2(3).


  • The opening of the urinal basin is more than 19 inches from the floor.  ANSI 5.6.5.


2. second floor identified accessible female restroom

  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width.  ANSI 5.6.2(3).

E. The Mining and Geology Building was constructed in 1972.  The building houses offices for the college’s senior administration staff, student registrar’s office, financial aid office, admissions office, college personnel offices, and a computer lab.  Building alterations between 1998 and 2004 include classroom upgrades, remodeling of the building’s restrooms, and the installation of accessibility signage and automatic door openers.  OCR assessed this building under the ADAAG standards.  OCR found the following deviations from the ADAAG standards:

1. The first floor identified accessible male restroom opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

2. The first floor identified accessible female restroom opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

3. second floor identified accessible male restroom

  • The opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11


  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


4. second floor identified accessible female restroom

  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11


F. The Engineering Laboratory-Classroom Building was constructed in 1984 and renovated in 1996 and 2005.  Renovations include the construction of accessible classrooms, installation of interior accessibility signage, and automatic door openers.  The building contains department faculty offices, classrooms, and student labs, and has a passenger elevator.  Based on the date of the last major alteration to the building, OCR assessed this building under the ADAAG standards.  OCR found the following deviations from the ADAAG standards:

1. first floor identified accessible male restroom

  • The room door is less than 32 inches in width.  ADAAG 4.13.5.


  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.


  • The shower stall does not have a seat.  ADAAG 4.21.3.


  • The opening of the urinal basin is more than 17 inches from the floor.  ADAAG 4.18.2.

2. first floor identified accessible female restroom

  • The room door is less than 32 inches in width.  ADAAG 4.13.5.


  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist. ADAAG 4.13.9.


  •  
  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.


  • The shower stall does not have a seat.  ADAAG 4.21.3.

3. second floor identified accessible male restroom

  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width.  ADAAG 4.17.5.

4. second floor identified accessible female restroom

  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width.  ADAAG 4.17.5.

5. third floor identified accessible male restroom

  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.

6. third floor identified accessible female restroom

  • The room door knob requires tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.  ADAAG 4.13.9.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ADAAG 4.19.4.


  • The toilet stall door is less than 32 inches in width.  ADAAG 4.17.5.

G. The Alumni Coliseum grandstand, press box, and bleachers were constructed in 1965 and remodeled in 1990.  The grandstand provides seating for baseball and softball events.  The college does not have a baseball or softball team; therefore the grandstand is not used for college sporting events.  Local area teams use the field and grandstand.  The press box and bleachers service the college football field.  The bleachers seat between 3,360 and 3,500.  Of that seating, 6 are designated as accessible and are located on the top row of the bleachers.  OCR assessed this building under the ANSI standards.  However, in determining the college’s compliance with Section 504 and Title II with respect accessible seating capacity of the bleachers, the ANSI standards are not specific.  In those areas where ANSI standards are not specific, OCR utilized the ADAAG as a guideline. OCR found the following deviated from the ANSI or ADAAG standards, as applicable:

1. identified accessible male restroom

  • The room door knob is not operable by a single effort.  ANSI 5.3.1.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.

2. identified accessible female restroom

  • The room door knob is not operable by a single effort.  ANSI 5.3.1.


  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.

3. the bleachers deviated from the ADAAG standards by having less than 36 designated accessible seating spaces on an accessible route.  ADAAG 4.1.3(19)(a).

H. The Mill Building was constructed in 1908.  The building underwent a complete renovation in 1997.  The renovation included the installation of interior accessible ramps and an elevator, and construction of a bookstore, administrative offices, student lounge area, computer lab, and alumni lounge.  Based on the date of alterations to the building, OCR assessed this building under the ADAAG standards.  OCR found the following deviated from the ADAAG standards:

1. The first floor identified female accessible restroom opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

2. The first floor identified male restroom opening door pressure is more than 5lbf.  ADAAG 4.13.11

I. The college’s Auditorium Building was constructed in 1978 and has not undergone any alterations that affect usability since the original date of construction.  The auditorium is accessible through a south side entrance.  Based on the building’s date of construction, OCR assessed this building under the ANSI standards.  OCR found that the following deviated from the ANSI standards:

1. second floor identified female accessible restroom, room 204

  • The hot water and drain pipes under the lavatory counter are not covered or insulated.  ANSI 5.6.3.


  • Toilet stall grab bars are more that 1.5 inches from the stall wall.  ANSI 5.6.2.

2. Audible warning signals are not installed.  ANSI 5.12. 

J. Centennial Residence Hall was constructed in 1999 and provides housing for 100 students.  The building has a passenger elevator.  OCR assessed this building under the ADAAG standards.  OCR found that the east side automatic door openers are inoperable.  ADAAG 4.13.12. 

K. The college’s Petroleum Building was constructed in 1953.  Department faculty offices, computer and science labs, and classrooms are located in this building.  Alterations were made in 1993 to provide access to the lecture classroom on the building’s basement floor and offices, classrooms, and labs on the building’s first floor.  These alterations also included the installation of a sidewalk, curb ramp, and ramp.  Renovations to the basement floor’s lecture classroom in 1998 included the installation of a ramp and the addition of accessible class spaces.  Automatic door openers were also installed on the building’s doors during the 1998 renovation.  OCR found no accessibility compliance concerns in this building.

OCR has determined that the college does not comply with Section 504 or Title II because the above facilities do not comply with the applicable accessibility requirements as identified.

Accessible Parking

The college has vehicle parking throughout its campus in 13 identified parking lots which were constructed at various times.  The parking lots have a total of 890 parking spaces, of which 26 are designated as accessible spaces. 

The south side of the campus has 5 parking lots, 2 of which are not on an accessible route and do not contain designated accessible spaces.  The remaining 3 south side parking lots have a total of 9 designated accessible parking spaces adjacent the HPER, the baseball grandstand area, the Mill Building, and the Chemistry-Biology Building.

The north side of campus has 8 parking lots, 2 of which are not on an accessible route and do not contain designated accessible spaces.  The parking lot adjacent the Mining and Geology Building contains 4 identified accessible spaces.  This lot also services the Student Union Building, Science and Engineering Building, and the Petroleum Building.  Parking for the Centennial and Prospector Residence Halls is provided in 3 adjacent parking lots which contain a total of 6 designated accessible spaces.  The Library parking lot has 4 designated accessible spaces, and the parking lot adjacent to the Engineering Laboratory-Classroom Building has 3 designated accessible spaces. 

Vehicles that display a state issued disability access placard or a college temporary disability access permit may park in any of the identified accessible parking spaces.  The college publishes information regarding accessible parking in its annual student handbook, in its campus parking regulations pamphlet, and in a map of campus parking that identifies the location of the accessible parking spaces in the lots.  All of these publications are available to visitors, students, and staff in paper format and on the college’s website. 

The evidence was insufficient to determine when the parking lots were constructed or altered and, therefore, OCR considered them as existing construction under the Section 504 and Title II regulations.   In determining the accessibility of programs operated in existing facilities, OCR first determines whether there are any physical barriers to access.  OCR uses ADAAG as a guide in determining compliance for existing facilities.  Significant departures from the particular physical accessibility requirements may be considered to be a barrier to program access.  OCR assessed the identified accessible parking spaces to determine whether there were any significant departures from applicable accessibility standards.  OCR found the following deviations:

1. The two designated accessible spaces west of the Library Building are not located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible pedestrian entrance to the building, and a trash dumpster was placed in the spaces.  ADAAG 4.6.2. 

2. The designated accessible space north of the Library Building does not have an access aisle and is not located on an accessible route of travel to the Library Building or the adjacent Engineering Laboratory Classroom Building.  ADAAG 4.6.2. and 4.6.3.

3. Neither of the two designated accessible spaces west of the Chemistry-Biology Building is accessible because they have a running slope as steep as 7.6% and a cross slope as steep as 3.6%.  ADAAG 4.6.3. 

4. The two designated accessible spaces north of the Mining and Geology Building are not located on an accessible route of travel to the Mining and Geology Building or on the shortest accessible route of travel to the adjacent Engineering Laboratory-Classroom Building.  ADAAG 4.6.2.

5. There is no accessible parking on an accessible route to the Alumni Coliseum, press box, and bleachers.  ADAAG 4.6.2.

OCR has determined that the college does not comply with Section 504 or Title II because the above identified accessible spaces do not comply with the applicable accessibility requirements.

Accessible Routes

Because the campus was built in 1900 and the college could not determine when the majority of the walkways and other routes were constructed or altered, OCR considered these features to be existing construction under the Section 504 and Title II regulations. 

As previously discussed, significant departures from the particular physical accessibility requirements may be considered to be a barrier to program access in pre-1977 facilities.  Under ADAAG Section 4.1.2, an accessible route complying with ADAAG Section 4.3 must be provided within the boundary of a site from accessible parking spaces, passenger loading zones if provided, and public streets or sidewalks, to an accessible building entrance.  In addition, ADAAG requires that an accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements, and accessible spaces that are on the same site. With respect to the walkways located throughout the college campus, the college does not provide a map to staff, students, or visitors, or provide signage that identifies the accessible walkways or an accessible route on the campus.  Thus, OCR assessed a sampling of campus walkways to determine whether there were any significant departures of ADAAG standards.  OCR found that many of the surveyed walkways deviated substantially from the accessibility standards with respect to the slope and changes in levels along these routes. 

Although the college has established policies and procedures for making its programs and activities accessible to disabled persons, the absence of a designated accessible route throughout the campus creates a barrier to accessibility.  Therefore, OCR has determined that the college does not comply with Section 504 or Title II because the college does not have a designated accessible route.

Signage to Accessible Facility Entrances

Public entities are required under the Title II regulation at 28 CFR 35.163(b) to provide exterior signage at all inaccessible entrances at its facilities, which directs users to an accessible entrance of the facility or to a location where they can obtain information about accessible facilities.  Public entities must also provide the international symbol for accessibility at each accessible entrance of the facility, unless all entrances are accessible.  All such signage must comply with the requirements of ADAAG 4.30.

The college does not provide a map or other building information to staff, students, or visitors that identifies accessible building entrances.  Additionally, OCR found that buildings with inaccessible entrances (such as the Petroleum Building, Mill Building, and the Library) did not have appropriate directional signage.  OCR also found one instance where an accessible ramp led to an inaccessible door at the Mill Building.

Because the college does not provide appropriate accessibility signage at all building entrances, OCR has determined that the college does not comply with the Title II regulation.

Conclusion

Based on the above findings, OCR has determined that areas of the college campus do not comply with the accessibility requirements of Section 504 and Title II. 

As noted above, this compliance review was not intended to be a comprehensive or complete assessment of all campus facilities and features.  The scope of our review was limited to the areas described above, and was a sampling of the accessibility features in those areas.
The college and OCR entered into discussions regarding the areas of noncompliance identified above.  As a result of these discussions, the college agreed to take the voluntary remedial actions set forth in the enclosed Settlement Agreement.  Upon full implementation of the agreement, which OCR will monitor, the college will be in compliance with Section 504 and Title II regarding the identified areas of non-compliance. 

This letter is a letter of findings issued by OCR to address this compliance review.  Letters of findings contain fact-specific investigative findings and dispositions of individual cases.  Letters of findings are not formal statements of OCR policy and they should not be relied upon, cited, or construed as such.  OCR’s formal policy statements are approved by a duly authorized OCR official and made available to the public.

Thank you for the effort and cooperation that you and your staff, especially Mr. Paul Beatty and Ms. Maggie Peterson, extended to OCR during this review.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact Steve Riley, the OCR staff member assigned to this review, at (206) 607-1635, or at steven.m.riley@ed.gov.

Sincerely,
/S/  
Gary Jackson
Director
Seattle Office

Enclosure: Settlement Agreement


 
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Last Modified: 06/13/2011