Mackay Stadium is filled with football players and spectators
Photo: Ken Lund via Flickr Mackay Stadium as it stands on Nov. 30, 2013. The NSHE Board of Regents approved the University of Nevada, Reno’s request to pursue legal proceedings against the architect that left the stadium out of ADA compliance.

After failing to comply with the American Disability Act, the University of Nevada, Reno, will be moving forward with a lawsuit against the architect of the Mackay Stadium renovation after the final product was unable to accommodate people with disabilities.

Representatives of the university said the WorthGroup failed to comply with ADA regulations in the 2015 redesign of the stadium, and then again failed to comply when attempting to fix mistakes in the 2017 redesign, leaving fans in wheelchairs unable to view the field.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, created in 1990, is a law that prohibits discrimination and requires wheelchair seating to be provided in all areas, according to the ADA National Network. To be ADA compliant, wheelchair locations in stadiums must provide a view comparable to what other fans are able to enjoy. 

The Board of Regents unanimously approved the university’s commencement to pursue legal proceedings against WorthGroup Architects for the design deficiencies within the stadium in a special meeting held on July 19.

University graduate Joseph Arrascada spoke at the meeting, expressing his appreciation to the board for commencing legal proceedings.

Arrascada, a wheelchair user of 33 years, was a former ticket holder but has been unable to attend games because of the stadium’s lack of wheelchair accessibility.

“(Worthgroup) disappointed every person with a disability who had tickets at the stadium,” said Arrascada, “they have to be held accountable for their oversight with the lack of review and competency for the inaccessibility at Mackay stadium.”

Arrascada challenged not only the architect and construction company, but also board members to see if the final renovation complies with the American disabilities act.

“I don’t just challenge the architect and the construction company to walk the stadium, but I also challenge all the Regents to go to the university, get into a walker, use a scooter, perhaps a wheelchair, and go to the Mackay stadium at the conclusion of the new upgrade and see with your own eyes if it is fully wheelchair accessible,” said Arrascada.

The university is requesting $3.9 million as it aims to make the stadium ADA compliant, a goal that wouldn’t be accomplished until the 2020 season at the earliest, according to Nevada Sports Net.

Ed Roether, an architect with national ADA experience, conducted an external report of Mackay Stadium. According to his report, the stadium didn’t have the required number of seating available for fans in wheelchairs. The seating available for wheelchairs did not have a clear line of sight to the field.

Mackay Stadium contains a total of 25,799 seats. Among those, 76 are wheelchair-compliant, per Roether’s report. The number of wheelchair accessible seats required by ADA standards for a stadium of Mackay Stadium’s size is 140.

Additionally, the east side boxes are required to have wheelchair spaces but do not. The west side boxes also do not provide lines of sight over standing spectators for spectators in wheelchairs, according to Roether.