Amidst multiple lawsuits over alleged noncompliance, project officials say that upcoming renovations to Mercedes-Benz Superdome will improve the facility’s Americans with Disability Act compliance.
The New Orleans Saints, along with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) and facility manager ASM Global, are planning a $450 million renovation to the Superdome. The multi-year project is set to begin early in 2020 and conclude in 2024, with multiple areas of the facility slated to modernized in the process.
One of the key questions about the renovation is how project officials will address ADA compliance at the Superdome, an issue that has been raised in multiple legal challenges over the years, including two that are currently playing out in federal court. As it relates to the upcoming renovation, LSED officials have acknowledged that improving ADA compliance will be a priority, but the entities involved in the project have not disclosed specifics about how that will be addressed. More from NOLA.com:
When unveiling the first architectural renderings of the new design last month, Kyle France, the chairman of the LSED, generally known as the Superdome Commission, again underscored the commitment to improvements for disabled patrons.
“Do we need more ADA seating in this building? Absolutely,” he said.
However, the Superdome Commission, ASM Global and lead architectural firm Trahan Architects all declined to elaborate on plans for specific improvements to amenities for disabled patrons, saying it was too early to go into detail.
Legal challenges against teams and/or facility owners or operators over alleged ADA noncompliance are not uncommon around professional sports, and the LSED and ASM Global are currently named in a pair of lawsuits in federal court. In one of those cases, a long-time Saints season ticket holder has raised a challenge against the Superdome and its operator by alleging that a 2011 renovation worsened his experience by locating designated areas for wheelchair users in places where seating can be obstructed by other fans standing up. A federal judge allowed that case to proceed earlier this month. Additionally, a separate case was brought on from a 2016 concert attendee, who sought $5,000 in damages after she alleged that Superdome staffers placed her in a regular seat a considerable distance away from her wheelchair after failing to properly deal with a ticketing issue. A judge awarded her $20,000 in March, and ordered defendants to pay nearly $80,000 in legal fees. The state attorney general’s office is appealing that ruling.
Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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