Friday, October 15, 1999
Brick Building request pulled from Town Meeting Warrant
Although the Carlisle School Committee had intended to ask voters to fund modifications for the Brick Building to make it handicapped-accessible, that request has been withdrawn. According to school business manager Eileen Riley, because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is complaint-driven, "and there have been no complaints," the school is not obligated to go forward with the plans. Furthermore, that building is exempt because it is historic.
At the October 5 Carlisle School Committee meeting, members and administrators had wrestled with how to make the Brick Building handicapped-accessible to meet the current needs.
Providing handicapped access to the Brick Building has become a more complicated and costly project, Riley said. The school had estimates for the design of a prefab metal entrance ramp. However, when the staged design was reviewed by town building inspector Bob Koning, he said that the lavatories would also need to be made compliant to ADA specifications. Translated, this means one of the lavatories would have to be modified and a sink must be lowered.
The Americans with Disabilities Act helps ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same rights and privileges as other Americans. The Brick Building is one of Carlisle's oldest and is the art room for the Carlisle middle school. Until the present time, the school has been able to make some changes to the school buildings to assure compliance with the ADA law. The school had budgeted $10,000 for these ADA projects, but now the projected expenses are in the $24,500 range. The increase would have meant that the school would have to place an article on the Warrant for the fall Town Meeting so residents could vote on the $14,000 difference.
Riley noted that there is a town ADA commission to tackle these issues but it had not met recently. The school has an ADA plan and in the course of new building projects, ADA compliancy for the older buildings has been delayed. School administrators wondered whether to consider sharing the added expenses by finding monies from other areas of the school budget, such as those for the repair of a portion of the Corey Building. However, chair David Dockterman pointed out that all of the money comes from townspeople, regardless of whether it is spent by the school or the town. Dockterman felt that money spent on town buildings for compliance with ADA regulations should be funded by the town.
Riley said that the school will continue to review what modificiations to the building might be appropriate with available funds.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito