FCA & ADA Study - Greek Houses

Drexel University Philadelphia, PA



Drexel University, founded in 1891, is one of the country’s largest private universities with 25,000 students. Its campus spans 96 acres in an urban setting. In addition to being known as an institution committed to providing cooperative education opportunities for its students in the U.S. and internationally, Drexel is also focused on providing an engaging student life experience on campus, which includes many student groups and organizations. Drexel is also committed to making these opportunities accessible to all students.

Entech was hired to perform Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) as well as a visual survey of American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance focused on public access to and within 13 university-owned Greek Houses, encompassing 132,000 square feet.

Solution Details

Facility Condition Assessments
The facilities housing Drexel’s fraternities and sororities date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Despite their age, the buildings were in relatively good condition. Entech prioritized and scheduled all capital renewal projects identified, including masonry repointing, electrical panel board replacements, fire alarm system upgrades, and exterior closure repairs. Additional projects included lighting upgrades, plaster and woodwork restoration, bathroom renovations, and roof repairs. Projects were prioritized and scheduled over a ten-year period to allow the University time to plan and secure funding for recommended repairs.

ADA Compliance Assessment
Parallel with the FCA, we also completed a visual assessment of all accessways to and within the Greek Houses to evaluate ADA code compliance. Although fraternities and sororities are considered “private clubs” and are therefore exempt from such compliance, Drexel is taking a proactive approach to improving the accessibility of these University-owned facilities.

Items noted in this assessment included installation of access ramps, creating accessible pathways (36” wide) inside the houses and renovating restrooms and bathrooms with required clearances and fixtures. When addressing ADA compliance issues, current code recognizes the unique construction challenges inherent to the renovation of older structures. Therefore, non-compliant features may be considered “grandfathered in” under current code or may be waived if the cost exceeds a percentage of a planned renovation or if modifications are technically infeasible. With such challenges in mind, it was recommended that the University work with each organization to create dwellings on the first floor along an accessible route.

By having the foresight to evaluate and establish a plan for maintaining and improving these facilities and by considering ways to make the buildings more accessible to all students, Drexel is ensuring that this segment of its student and campus life not only will  continue for generations to come, but will open the doors for more of its student body to participate.

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13 buildings assessed

132,000 sq.ft. assessed