CCSF construction follows settlement

City College’s Ocean Avenue campus is set to undergo its second multimillion-dollar disability-access project in just over a decade.

The project follows a lawsuit by a disabled City College student and her mother that was settled in February 2006. The lawsuit accused the college of failing to provide accessible pathways — among other obstacles — despite having more than 14 years to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to Peter Goldstein, vice chancellor of administration and finance for City College, the work is expected to begin as early as next week if the board of trustees approves a $5.6 million construction contract at its meeting tonight.

The work focuses on the pathways throughout the main Ocean Avenue campus with some work occurring inside the buildings and some minor construction on a few other campuses. Construction will include resurfacing, replacing handrails and fixing steep grades.

The college completed a similar $6 million project between 1995 and 1996, according to Goldstein, but the improvements failed to pass muster.

“In some cases, we’ll have to redo some of the work,” Goldstein said.

The lawsuit, filed by Margie and Estoria Cherry in 2004, accuses City College of denying equal access to the disabled. Estoria Cherry, who has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to get around, said in the complaint that she would often be tardy or miss class because of conditions at CCSF.

The list of problems included broken elevators, steep and long ramps, restrooms with “severe obstacles,” and not enough disabled parking. The lawsuit claims that not only did Estoria’s grades suffer but that she was also forced to sit in the doorways of classrooms.

Estoria’s mother, Margie Cherry, also experienced problems when she accompanied her daughter to several of City College’s campuses because the injuries she suffered in a car crash, along with rheumatoid arthritis andsciatica, keep her from climbing stairs.

“A project like this is disruptive by nature, but we’re going to go forward with classes as usual,” Goldstein said. “We just ask everybody to put up with the construction. It’s required by federal law.”

bbegin@examiner.com

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