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Goffstown looks to expand access at high school

GOFFSTOWN - Installing four new parking spaces in front of the high school gymnasium for use by handicapped individuals and senior citizens during elections could cost around $42,000, Town Administrator Susan Desruisseaux told selectmen last night.

Desruisseaux's comments came about a month after she toured the outside of the high school with local disability advocate Wayne Perreault and Jillian Shedd of the Governor's Commission on Disability in what was effectively an audit of the school's compliance with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Following the walk through and around the exterior of the high school on March 27, Shedd determined that while the high school is in compliance with ADA accessibility requirements, more could be done to improve handicap and senior citizens' access to the polls during elections.

Among the options discussed was a temporary ramp or curb cut in front of the section of the building that houses the gymnasium and the cafeteria, and additional handicapped parking spaces in front of the gym.

Present at last night's selectmen's meeting were SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley and School Board Chairman Dian McCarthy, both of whom are expected to bring Desruisseaux's estimate and Perreault's concerns to the full school board at some future date. Neither Buckley nor McCarthy offered a timeframe last night for when that may happen.

Earlier this month, Perreault sent a letter to selectmen offering to donate $100 toward the parking spaces.

"Please accept this donation . to be used for the construction of four new accessible parking spaces at the entrance of the gym and cafeteria at Goffstown High School," Perreault wrote. "I am donating $25 for each new space constructed and will donate $25 for each additional space constructed with and adjacent to these proposed spaces."

At the selectmen's meeting where Perreault's offer was made, Dessruisseaux and selectmen suggested the money be returned to Perreault until an all boards meeting could be held to determine whether it's the school district's or the town's responsibility to pay for having the parking spots installed.

There has been some confusion in the past regarding this situation because the town, as required by law, has an ADA coordinator, who happens to be Desruisseaux, while the school district does not.

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