One More Reason: New high school needed to serve accessibilty needs

By Halie Frahm

Over the past couple years there has been a lot of discussion and debate about building a new high school, or if it’s even necessary. Here are some reasons we need a new building you may have not even thought of.

Our building is accessibility “compliant.” Yes, the building is equipped with an elevator on one side of the school and a chair lift on the other side of the building, but what happens when there is a mechanical error?

Our building currently is a safety hazard. Disabled/chronically ill students are expected to have alternate evacuation plans in case of an emergency, and most of these are not the safest or most efficient for anybody involved due to our building being three floors tall and hosting limited non-stair access (or exit.)

Due to the three levels of our building, many physically disabled and visually impaired students have to leave class early or arrive late. If you do the math for five minutes transition time per each class, times six class periods, that equals 30 minutes per day of lost learning time due to the allotted four minutes being insufficient.

That is missing almost 13 days of school per year just to commute to class. For three years of high school, the student would be missing over a month of supposedly equal opportunity education.

The building also forces these students to surrender their independence unwillingly. In order to adapt to the environment, students are faced with a choice of wasting crucial learning time or giving up the ability they do have. This may be due to, but is not limited to, being dependent on adults to complete basic functions and being dependent on mobility aids that one would not otherwise need and/or use.

For example, a student who would otherwise walk unaided would need a wheelchair to increase pace and lessen fatigue.

A  new single story high school building hosting multiple safe access and exit points, no room for mechanical error and a more time efficient layout is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Our district abides by the philosophy of “Every student. Every day.” A mantra that is later followed on the district website by “to provide our students with the highest quality education, we embrace change as it represents the world our students will enter as they continue their life’s journey …”

Today, our world is changing. The largest minority group are people living with some form of disability. This community is living longer and more independent lives.

Now, it is time for our city to join our district on these principles to provide the highest quality and accessible education for every student every day.

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