Campus News

Bowdoin Wins ADA Service Award

Story posted July 27, 2010

Bowdoin has received the 2010 Denis Pratt ADA Award in recognition of what the Maine ADA Coalition describes as substantial contributions to the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and service to the community.

Adams Night530.jpg The addition of an elevator was just one of many ADA-compliant features included in the renovations to Adams Hall.

"Bowdoin College is one of Maine's true gems," said Governor John Baldacci as he presented the award at a ceremony in Bangor July 26, 2010, the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

"They have made a dedication to community inclusion and welcoming students with disabilities to the historic campus by evaluating some of their oldest buildings to make them accessible, while also finding a way to retain their beauty and integrity."

Gov. Baldacci noted the recent renovation of the "Bricks," the College's six first-year residence halls, which included updates that addressed accessibility issues.

Other recent construction projects — including the Sidney J. Watson Arena, Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness, Museum of Art and Studzinski Recital Hall — have all implemented ADA-compliant design features.

Smaller-scale modifications including wheelchair ramps, automatic door openers and lowered countertops have been made across campus.

The service award was recently renamed to commemorate the life of Denis Pratt, who died unexpectedly July 7, 2010. "Denis was employed as an architect and access design specialist for nearly 20 years with Alpha One, an independent living center located in South Portland," wrote Jeremy Libby of Alpha One in a letter notifying the College of the award.

"The College worked with Denis on a variety of accessibility projects since 1996 and he will be sorely missed," remarked Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration & Treasurer S. Catherine Longley as she accepted the award on behalf of the college.

"As an architect and access specialist, he understood the competing needs of historic preservation and public access. With his unique training and passion for accessible design, Denis was a perfect fit for Bowdoin. We have hearing impaired, visually impaired and persons with mobility issues at the College and the steps we have taken — through Denis — have helped make Bowdoin a better place to study, live and work. He was passionate and committed to helping individuals with disabilities in adapting their living environment by offering his expertise in barrier-free and universal design."

Founded in 2009 and led by Alpha One, Center for Independent Living, the Maine ADA Coalition is a group of non-profit organizations working together to create new opportunities for people with disabilities in Maine.

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