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Archive for Monday, October 5, 1998

PINCKNEY TO BENEFIT FROM BOND ISSUE

October 5, 1998

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The school bond proposal includes plans to add an elevator to Pinckney.

Twenty-four steps.

That's the distance that separates Pinckney School from living up to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Under a bond proposal that will be decided by voters in November, the Lawrence school district would invest $1.7 million to bring Pinckney, 810 W. Sixth St., in line with the law by adding an elevator to make the second-floor library accessible to people who cannot make it up stairs without assistance.

``Once you start renovating you have to bring the building up to ADA standards,'' Asst. Supt. Craig Fiegel said. ``One of the things is that you have to provide access to the library.''

Because of space considerations, Pinckney's library and computer facility cannot be moved to the ground level. As a result, students and visitors who can't climb stairs are left without access to resource materials.

``It hasn't been a real problem since I've been there,'' Pinckney Principal Lesa Frantz said. ``But it will be an issue this year. We want all of our students, parents and community members to have access to the building.''

The solution is to build an elevator that would transport students from the first floor to the second floor. School officials explored the less expensive option of installing a chair lift on the stairs but found it would interfere with student traffic, leading to a potential hazard during an evacuation.

``A chair lift is just not an acceptable option for that building,'' Fiegel said.

In addition to the elevator, Pinckney would get updates in roofing and lighting, Fiegel said.

``It's needed a lot of work for a long time,'' he said. ``We're just trying to fix some basic things to make the building better. It's a good, solid building and has a lot of history.''

Pinckney was built in 1931 and has had one addition, in 1957.

Other than basic repairs and upkeep, the building has not needed extensive repairs, said Larry Stuckey, the school district's director of grounds and maintenance.

Fiegel has recommended that the firm of Michael Treanor Architects handle the design of the renovation since the company was responsible for library renovations that were completed in 1996.

``It only makes sense, since they know that building,'' Fiegel said.

If the bond issue does not pass, Pinckney still has to be brought up to ADA standards, Lawrence school board President Maley Wilkins said.

``The money would come from capital outlay dollars and the timing would be uncertain,'' Wilkins said. ``There could be a phase-in period.''

All other school buildings in the district comply with ADA standards except Cordley, 1837 Vt. Cordley is also a multilevel facility, but its library is on the first floor. Classrooms are also shifted to accommodate students who need wheelchair assistance.

``At this point we can make do,'' Wilkins said. ``But that's not what's best for that building. We really need an elevator there, and elevators are expensive.''

Wilkins and board member Leni Salkind drafted the $16.6 million bond issue.

--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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