Hammond Hall set to be vacated because it is not ADA accessible

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Hammond Hall has been around since 1955. Photo by KaliRaahVisuals / el Don

When pharmacology student Ronnie Miano first enrolled in a lab class on Hammond Hall’s second floor last fall, she never thought she’d get stuck on the first. 

Miano took the microphone into her hands at a Facilities Town Hall meeting on Feb. 28 and told her story about driving from Compton to Santa Ana for her pharmacology lab only to find that the Hammond Hall elevator was not operable.

“I am one of the students who was affected by the elevator in the H building,” said Miano. “Last semester I pretty much almost failed out of class because I couldn’t come to class everyday.”

She later described an incident in which she had to watch a campus security guard almost slip from carrying her walker to the second floor during a time when the elevator was out of service. Miano would take the stairs three times a day with her walker in hand.

Administrators have been trying to repair the 70-year-old building’s elevator, but say it is taking too long because of the building’s age. By the time Miano attended a second Facilities Town Hall on April 17, administrators announced they would not be scheduling math or science classes in Hammond Hall as soon as this summer. 

“Hammond Hall is a very old building that cannot be brought up to [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliances,” said Santa Ana College President Anneb​​elle Nery. “Our goal is to minimize any class offerings starting this summer [and] work on a plan to remove all class offerings come Spring 2025.”

While the news of Hammond Hall being vacated was a brief break from the concerns surrounding the building’s inaccessibility, students on campus are still concerned about the immediate solution, especially regarding the elevator.

“What about now, though?” asked ASG Interim President Anaely Guadarrama. 

Dean of the Disabled Students Programs and Services Krystal Taylor, said they will be working alongside DSPS and Nery to identify students who still have classes in Hammond Hall. Their goal is to address ADA accommodations for students who need a more accessible classroom.

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“If [a student’s class] is in Hammond Hall, then we are working with the vice president of instruction to move the class right away to a location on the campus that is ADA accessible,” said Nery.

Hammond Hall will not be the last building to undergo changes. Nery has also toured the C building several times this semester, which has seen its fair share of plumbing issues, faulty automatic doors and holes exposing the building’s insulation. Doing walkthroughs of buildings will now be something the administration does every month.

“There’s no way to walk every single inch of a facility every day of the week, we don’t simply have that team, but what we’re gonna do is have regular walk-throughs and start rotating buildings with a team so that we can do more preventative maintenance,” said Nery.

The Rancho Santiago Community College District Board of Trustees is still weighing whether or not to ask voters to approve a new bond that will allow them to schedule Hammond Hall for demolition.

After meeting with administration of both RSCCD campuses to determine their priorities, the district has requested a bond of about $720 million at Monday night’s board meeting. “We feel that that is an appropriate number based upon the needs that the campuses have expressed,” said RSCCD Vice Chancellor of Business Services Iris Ingram.

Among those needs is an estimated cost of $103,777,006 million for ADA Transition Plan corrections.

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