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State office building auditorium now ADA compliant

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 1:06 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The auditorium at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown has undergone a $3.5 million renovation.

Before the renovations, there really wasn’t much of a way for someone in a wheelchair to get on the stage, so they put in ramps on either side leading right to it.

That’s just one of many additions to make the auditorium more accessible for people with disabilities and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

New York’s Office of General Services was in charge of the multi-million-dollar project, the planning of which started more than two years ago. It was capped off Wednesday with the ribbon cutting.

The department’s commissioner says the auditorium is pivotal to the community, and renovations were long overdue.

This is a community asset as much as it is a state asset and we needed to, after 50-something years, we needed to make improvements, but the most important improvement that we made was that it is now ADA compliant,” Commissioner RoAnn Destito said.

To reach that goal ramps had to be built so wheelchairs can access the stage. Improvements to the seating area and bathrooms help make the space more accessible to people with disabilities, too.

Joe Rich with the Disabled Persons Action Organization made sure to share his gratitude with the OGS staff.

“I extend my heartfelt appreciation. Thank you,” he said.

The auditorium’s stage is all brand new. Officials with OGS say the original one was torn down, so the new one could be built up.

There are big upgrades to the front and back of the house. Audiences have new seats and LED lights now fill the room.

For the performers, there are shelves and mirrors in the changing room.

“The people of the Watertown, north country area deserve this. They use it, and we’re pleased to be a partner with them,” said Destito.

More than two years of planning - all leading to a state-of-the-art auditorium in the State Office Building.

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