Small Town-Creative Solution-Big Impact
De Soto Kansas main city sign

Steve Chick, building inspector for De Soto, KS (pop. 6,107) had worked with Ray Petty, Great Plains ADA Center, for technical assistance on ADA related issues on several occasions. So when a challenging project came up involving a building that housed both Title II and Title III entities, he reached out to Ray to find the best solution.

The goal was to provide access to a fitness center that was leasing space on the upper floor of the City Administration Center.

The Challenge
Open stairwell leading to doorway.

The challenge was to find a solution that provided accessible vertical access in a building with a tight stairwell, allowing the building to be used for multiple purposes while keeping the project within a limited budget and scope.

The Challenge
Open stairwell leading to doorway.

An open interior staircase that led to the doorway of the leased area was the only means of interior access. The initial solution was to install a stair-climbing lift platform. However, the lift would have to make a steep climb. Ray knew from personal experience that a stair-climbing lift with a fold down platform is both hard to maintain in working order---and a bit scary to ride.

Enlarging the Area.
Enlarged area after wall is removed.

There was a closet behind the stud and sheetrock wall in the first photo. The wall was no problem to remove –and, as shown in this photo, there was now room for an interior ramp and reconfigured steps.

The Solution

Install an ADA compliant interior ramp leading from the level landing at the upstairs door into the newly available space.  The other end of the ramp would be connected to a vertical platform lift. The stairs leading to the fitness center would be retrofitted to the side of the new ramp. The end result: access to the fitness center for people with mobility disorders with minimal changes to the existing facility.


As can be seen in the photos that follow, construction was not overly difficult, but did require some realignment. The ramp was built, the vertical lift was installed, and a new set of stairs allowed access without the need for everyone to use the mechanical lift.

Installing the Platform Lift
Platform lift adjacent to new steps.

This photo, taken during construction, shows the lift’s original location on the left of the lift mechanical tower – immediately adjacent to the stairs. This had to be remedied as it created a shear hazard against the steps.

Installing the Platform Lift
Platform lift turned so mechanical part is next to wall not the stairs.

This photo shows the original lift location but as can be seen the lift is too close to the stairs and could be problematic. The next slide shows the rearranged and final solution.

Finished Accessible Route
Finished project showing platform lift leading to the interior ramp leading to the doorway.

The finished project shows the installed lift with the ADA-compliant ramp. An accessible route is now available linking one level to the next. The stairs are in place so people have the option of using either the stairs or lift.

Note:The control mechanisms for the lift are shown.The photo shows the call button to retrieve the lift from higher elevation.  A customer-operated lift control is inside the lift box.

More on Access
Key card reader for access to exterior door is on the wall next to the door handle.

This photo shows the key-card reader equipped level-landing entrance to the fitness facility. The card reader for access to the Great Life Fitness Center controls the automatic door opener. The exterior access had an existing accessible ramp already installed – but a card reader was installed at that door for after-hours access.

Final Outcome

The total project cost was $33, 236


  • Access to fitness for people with mobility needs.
  • Title II program access requirements were met.
  • Title III access to good and services requirements were met.
  • Construction met 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
  • The city of DeSoto, Kansas was able to use its building to maximum capacity.


Thank You.
Row of exercise bikes behind a glass wall.

Thank you to the City of De Soto, Kansas and Building Inspector, Steve Chick for sharing this project with us.