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This is a view of the area under consideration for more parking at Goffstown High School. (Kathy Remillard Photo)

Cost of more handicap parking at Goffstown High School unclear

While the Goffstown School District has approved the addition of four handicap-accessible parking spaces closer to the entrance at Goffstown High School, it isn’t yet clear how they will be paid for.

The estimated cost of the spaces could be as much as $42,000, a figure presented to selectmen at their April 28 meeting.

At the May 6 School Board meeting, members gave the nod to creating four additional parking spaces for increased accessibility to the high school’s gymnasium, but only if the school district doesn’t incur the expense, said SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley.

“The School Board was clear that we don’t need it for the school, and that they would not pay for it,” Buckley said.

Buckley said creating the spaces would require filling in a hill that connects the upper parking lot to the lower part, which are currently connected by stairs in some areas.

“The only way to build parking is to put in a retaining wall and build it up to the level of the road,” Buckley said. “It’s not just taking grass and laying down pavement and making it into a parking lot.”

Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux, the coordinator for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the town, toured Goffstown 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 in March, 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.

“For ADA purposes, the voting space is compliant (with ADA requirements),” said Assistant Town Administrator Derek Horne. “But the question is: Could it be more accessible?”

Horne said it has not been determined how the new spaces would be funded.

Town Engineer Meghan Theriault said that on a smaller project, costs are often higher because of the inability to buy materials in large quantities.

She estimated that the project would require creating a three-sided retaining wall, fill, asphalt and hand work.

“When a project is really small, your unit costs are much higher,” she said.

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