The student news site of Manitou Springs High School

The Prospector

The student news site of Manitou Springs High School

The Prospector

The student news site of Manitou Springs High School

The Prospector

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Building accessibility issues persist at MSHS

Bond needed for expensive fixes
Paraprofessional+Talor+Goodloe%2C+takes+Austin+Durham+%2810%29+out+of+class+early+to+make+it+through+the+only+wheelchair+accessible+gate+before+scheduled+fire+drill.
Halli Frost
Paraprofessional Talor Goodloe, takes Austin Durham (10) out of class early to make it through the only wheelchair accessible gate before scheduled fire drill.

The Manitou Springs High School building is a place for students to expand their minds, but it may not always be the easiest to navigate for students affected with either short or long term physical disabilities. 

Paraprofessionals, when attending to the educational and physical needs of students who require the assistance of a wheelchair, are presented with some issues when moving about the high school. 

“We have ramps for the majority of being able to get to and from different classrooms; I would mainly say opening doors becomes an issue when you don’t have more than one person to help,” paraprofessional Izabeth Mumford said.

The high school building itself is relatively accessibility friendly in most ways, but lacks certain modern luxuries when compared to the Student Integrated Learning Center (SILC). 

“A big step would be automated doors at the exterior because in terms of accessibility, it is not something students in a wheelchair could necessarily do themselves since the doors aren’t super wide,” significant support needs teacher Megan Lamoreaux said. 

Significant support needs students receive the same amount of funding from the school district as any other student. This is why the high school has incorporated the Ute Pass Board of Cooperative Educational Services to help fill in any extra gaps. 

  “Special educators in the Ute Pass BOCES will act as skill-building advocates in order to provide fair and appropriate access to resources and opportunities to students so they can become functionally independent according to their potential,” the official Ute Pass BOCES website said.  

Possible troubles when navigating accessible routes in the high school does not only pertain to significant support needs students.  

“Any student who has a physical disability, whether it’s temporary from an injury, or long term, can have issues if they don’t have someone to help them out,” Lamoreux said.

Having a school wide program administered to spread awareness about hallway courtesy could also be a crucial part of moving forward as a community.

“I think maybe some of the students don’t have an awareness of waiting in the hall so that a student using a wheelchair can get through, which is something you wouldn’t think about if you’re not using a wheelchair,” Lamoreux said.

There are several areas throughout the campus of the high school that are completely inaccessible for students who use wheelchairs. 

“The building itself, and I don’t hesitate to say this, is just not accessible because it was built prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements,” Superintendent Sean Dorsey said.

Since the high school was built in 1956, there are many issues that arise when looking at making updates from an architectural perspective. 

 “So the original bond that we had in the ballot was to get taxpayers to help contribute to be able to do these projects because really it would be a renovation of this entire building,” MSSD14 CFO Suzi Thompson said. “Since that didn’t pass, we’re kind of stuck.” 

There are many ways that progress can be made to better accommodate each and every student, no matter the situation. 

“We’ve done our best to work with instructional teams to support students and parents all across the board to navigate pathways that are most accessible and most supportive of all of our students and our guests,” assistant principal Jessie Nunley said.

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Halli Frost, Senior Reporter
Halli Frost is a junior at Manitou Springs High School. She loves soccer, journalism and choir. She loves learning new things and being open to new opportunities. Some of her hobbies are taking pictures, hiking and playing video games. She is hoping to focus more on sports and physical health this year.  She is excited for all of the great things that this year will bring. Her quote for the year is “Work smarter for the things you love, not harder.”
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