Tips from the pros on planning an ADA-compliant graduation ceremony


Posted on March 13, 2012

Amramp provides wheelchair ramp rental tips and details to consider for making your graduation ceremony safe, easy, and ADA-compliant

Putting together a fully ADA-compliant graduation ceremony is no easy task! Brett McKee of Amramp Southern California shared all of the necessary components you will need to consider to ensure that the big day is wheelchair-accessible:

Before you book a site for an event, consider your guests’ and speakers’ needs:

  • Are attendees older and using canes, walkers, or wheelchairs?
  • How far will they need to travel at the venue?
  • Are there multiple flights of stairs?
  • Can people with mobility needs be driven close to the entrance?

Respect and consideration should be shown for the feelings of those with mobility needs. Having a special entrance for certain speakers does not create a sense of equality; make the primary entrance accessible for all.

ADA ramp requirements:

  • One foot of sloped ramping for one inch of height (rise).
  • At the top and bottom of the ramp, you need a 5 x 5 foot level landing so people can easily and safely turn onto or off of the ramp.
    • For example: an 18-inch stage will require 18 feet of ramp plus 5 feet for the level landing, totaling 23 feet of clear space. Ramps are generally 36-48 inches wide as an inside measurement, with the outside handrails adding an additional 3.5 inches to the total width.
  • If the height of the stage is more than 30 inches (requiring 30+ feet of ramp), the requirement is that every 30 feet, there needs to be a 5-foot long ramp as a level resting area.

Taking “flow” into account: Having graduates enter from one end of the stage and exit another is often the most efficient way to address the flow of people as they receive their diplomas.

Ramp aesthetics: Even though wheelchair rumps are practical and functional, you can use planters with flowers, bushes, or ficus trees alongside them to soften their appearance.

Action steps:

  • Start early! This will give you more time to anticipate issues, problem-solve, and ensure that the proper equipment is in place for the big day.
  • Involve your local Amramp franchisee from the beginning. One of our evaluators will come to the site, measure, and will help you in the planning process.
  • If a facility is being used or a stage is being rented as a temporary piece of equipment, you should obtain height, length, and width measurements to share with Amramp. Providing digital photos of door entrances, stairs, and the surrounding terrain will also assist in budget planning.

Amramp makes ADA-compliance easy for graduation and more!
Call Amramp today to schedule a free on-site estimate
Please contact Amramp’s National Call Center 888-715-7598

Tags: accessibility, aging-in-place, Amramp, expert spotlight, ramps