University seeks OK from regents for stadium lawsuit

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Lawyers for the University of Nevada, Reno are asking the state's board of regents to authorize a lawsuit against architects they blame for a botched renovation project that left the school's football stadium in violation of the Americans with Disability Act.

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The university says in a formal request scheduled to be considered by the board on Friday that it will cost $3.8 million to redesign and repair a series of deficiencies, including wheelchair decks where disabled fans' views are obstructed.

The Reno Gazette Journal first reported on its website this week the university wants to sue for breach of contract.

The school says its contract with WorthGroup Architects for the work done at the 50-year-old Mackay Stadium in 2015 and 2017 stipulates the architecture firm is responsible for costs of construction that results in negligent errors.

UNR lawyers say they asked the company to pay for the costs of fixing the mistakes last month but it refused.

The company "breached its contract with UNR by, among other things, drafting and providing designs that failed to comply with accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act," according to a briefing paper prepared for the regents' meeting in Las Vegas.

Neither the company nor a lawyer representing it immediately responded to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

The Gazette Journal reported in 2017 that UNR had not taken into account access and views for people with disabilities when it spent $14 million to renovate the stadium two years earlier.

WorthGroup did a second round of work in 2017 to make some adjustments, but the school says it's still in violation of the law for failing to have enough spaces for wheelchairs in the stadium with more than 25,600 seats.

"Essentially, almost half of the wheelchair spaces provided with the accessible seating remodel in 2017 are not in compliance," the briefing paper said.

The university warned the Denver-based company about the potential for litigation last month after it hired Ed Roether, an architect and national expert on sports facilities, to review the ADA issues.

Bryan Wright, a lawyer for the school, said Roether found failures in the 2015 original design and the 2017 redesign.

"Worth Group's 2017 redesign did not resolve the accessibility issues and in some cases actually made matters worse," he wrote June 3.