Improvements to the Rogers County Courthouse to allow access to disabled persons could come sooner than later.

A survey by a representative of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be conducted Friday.

Rogers County Assistant District Attorney Barry Farbro said accessibility improvements that will be targeted in the survey include installing an automatic door at the southwest-central entrance to the courthouse where the wheelchair ramp is located; training courthouse security personnel regarding proper methods of handling persons with disabilities; and removing a standing metal detector, which would be replaced with security officers armed with handheld metal detectors.

A settlement contract was written following a mediation session on July 21, where recommendations to improve accessibility were made. The Rogers County Commission voted to adopt a resolution outlining improvements July 31.

The survey and the slated improvements were prompted by a complaint filed in June 2005 by John Jenkins concerning courthouse accessibility for disabled persons. Jenkins filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

In the complaint, Jenkins noted the southwest-central door to the courthouse was heavy and difficult to open and keep open for a wheelchair, the standing metal detector to the third floor courtroom was too narrow to allow access by a wheelchair, and the security personnel were not trained to deal with a disabled person.

Once the survey is conducted and recommendations made by the representative, officials say the improvements will begin and be implemented by Jan. 1, 2007.

This Week's Circulars