January 3, 2000
OBU's Raley Chapel is sitting pretty after several face-lift projects inside and outside of the building were completed in December.
The campus landmark, which opened in 1961, underwent a series of improvements to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The unique design of the chapel added to the challenge of ADA compliance. Raley has a total of five floor levels, with few common vertical intersections.
Efforts to make the facility more handicapped accessible resulted in the installation of five new wheelchair lifts and an elevator, the remodeling of two restrooms and the addition of two street level entrances.
The chapel's northeast and northwest entrances were extended to hold indoor staircases and wheelchair lifts leading to the main floor level. The staircases are enclosed in brick partitions that model the triangular pediments found in several locations on the chapel's exterior.
Directly inside the main floor entrance on the northeast side, a chair lift has been added next to the four steps that lead to restrooms, University Chorale practice room, and faculty offices. Men's and women's restrooms on that level were remodeled, bringing them into compliance with Americans Disabilities Act requirements. On the other side of the building, a chair lift was added leading to the main office for the College of Fine Arts.
Installation of an elevator on the northeast entrance allows access to the lower level of Raley Chapel. The elevator, which can be entered from street level, lowers passengers one floor. The large organ studio on the lower level was remodeled in order to make room for the elevator shaft and exit.
Efforts to make all parts of the chapel handicapped accessible also involved remodeling the southeast corner of Yarborough Auditorium. A chair lift was added to the southeast staircase leading to the auditorium level. That lift provides access to a new east door, replacing the auditorium's southeast entrance.
The back entrance was not the only portion of Yarborough that received improvements. The auditorium's stage was extended by more than six feet, and the stage floor recently was refinished. A new sound system and an electronically operated lighting system, along with new stage curtains, completed the Yarborough renovations.
Elsewhere in the building, hallways and offices have been graced with new paint, carpet and benches.
The south entrance to the chapel was improved as well. Large granite steps, which had shifted over the past 38 years, were removed and reset over a new concrete base.