Reimagining the ADA Entrance

How do you say, "Welcome"? Is it with open arms and a smile, or maybe with an elbow bump?

At the Community Center, Readiness To Learn and campus partners are striving to transform the institutional look of the former school into a place that says "welcome" for everyone. You may have noticed the new gardens in front of the main double doors on Camano Avenue, and the courtyard mural is hard to miss! However, the entry that makes it possible for people who rely on a wheelchair or other mobility assistance devices to enter is also in need of an upgrade.

The ADA entrance, located 100 feet to the south of the main entrance had been, until recently, burdened by overgrown landscaping that blocked the light and encouraged moss growth. The approach was slippery and dark.

With the goal of increasing the entrance's appeal, a group of youth joined a weeklong camp offered through RTL's Youth Curator Program giving them the opportunity to work with Environmental Designer Emily Ritchie.  Activities included guided writing and drawing exercises to communicate their ideas about how to create a more welcoming entry. A common thread in their design plans involved brightening the entrance. Pruning and removal of overgrown landscaping as since taken place.

One camp attendee, Kelvin Jenkins, a student at Woodhaven High School (, expressed interest in continuing with the effort. He teamed up with Joe Whisenand of The Learning Lab (, who is mentoring Kelvin along with providing access to his wood shop and tools. Together they have created a detailed, hand-drawn blueprint that includes the ideas from the youth summer camp as well as input from other stakeholders.  When the weather dries out, watch for the transition to a revitalized ADA entrance that is brighter, more visually interesting, and welcomes everyone to come and learn all about what the South Whidbey Community Center has to offer!