Reader Asks About General Amherst And Barrier Free Access

Sarah asked, “Do you think we should be fighting to keep the current building that houses Amherst open? Would we be able to make it barrier-free and accessible (not sure of the cost)? Or should we be looking at requesting a new school that could be built from the ground up, accessible and barrier-free? I am interested in your perspective and thoughts on this matter.”

hi sarah,

thanks for your question! i think the community should fight to keep GAHS in its current location. generally, it is less expensive to renovate than to build new. i reviewed the PARC School Information Profile, which includes references to no accessible washrooms and amenities for students and staff, no lift/elevator and no to the question if the entire building is wheelchair accessible. the three accessible parking spaces at the back are the result of my human rights complaint settlement with the town.

i did not see any mention that the building is in such disrepair that it should be abandoned, so i see no reason why renovations could not be undertaken to ensure the building is barrier-free. i emailed the PARC and school board trustee Ron Le Clair that there is no mention of cost to ensure that GAHS is made barrier-free and inquired if cost estimates would be obtained prior to a decision on the status of the school.

i will post any response i receive.