U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden officially inaugurated the newly constructed outside elevator at the Mission Command Center with a ribbon cutting Oct. 26 on Clay Kaserne. The elevator gives employees with disabilities better access to the MCC.
“Employees with disabilities are vital to our Army as Soldiers and civilians. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the National Disability Employment Awareness Month remind us of this,” said Col. Mario A. Washington, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander. “The elevator is one more step toward being a truly inclusive garrison.”
Washington together with Ron Vitiello, U.S. Army Europe Equal Employment Opportunity director; Brent O’Brien, USAG Wiesbaden Equal Employment Opportunity officer; Sgt. 1st Class Shannon Wyatt, USAG Wiesbaden Equal Opportunity advisor, and Rob Donner, Mission Command Center employee cut the ribbon in front of the elevator.
“This thing is an asset,” said David Fulton, director, Wiesbaden Mission Support Element. “The impetus for this was feedback from our disabled employees.”
The former stair lift was ADA-compliant, however, it moved very slowly, Fulton said.
This October marks the 75th anniversary of recognizing NDEAM and also the 30th anniversary of the ADA.
“This is just a great resource to unveil this month,” Fulton said.
Thirty years ago, President George H. W. Bush signed the ADA, a comprehensive disability rights legislation, that prohibits discrimination in hiring, and guarantees equal access to education and public facilities.
“Having a disability can create significant barriers for the quality of employment and life in general,” Wyatt said. “We are happy that this elevator will make the lives of people with a walking impairment or a disability a little bit easier.”
The elevator, which was funded by U.S. Army Europe, was finished and approved by all authorities Oct. 20, said Klaus Hahn, chief of construction with the Directorate of Public Works. The construction started at the beginning of March and got interrupted by the COVID pandemic at the end of March. Construction restarted at the end of May.
“Taking into account the corona break, the time frame was pretty solid,” he said. “I think the elevator is a real asset for the building. It is very quick and very quiet, and it looks good.”
In order to keep birds from flying into the windowpanes of the elevator, horizontal black lines were affixed to the glass. That looks more aesthetic than the usual bird deterrents, Hahn said.
The walkway to the elevator features hand rails that include energy-efficient LEDs that radiate light downward and in a 45 degree angle onto the path, he said. The LEDs are not visible, since they are located at the downside of the hand rail, but the path is still bright and the light is not blinding.
“Everybody involved in this project worked together as a team,” Washington said. “The elevator not only satisfies a need for better access to the MCC, but is also a modern and aesthetic piece of technology that adds to the quality of life here at USAG Wiesbaden.”