BREWER, Maine — Playgrounds at the new Brewer Community School are installed and comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, but they offer little for students with disabilities, Superintendent Daniel Lee told members of the school building committee Monday.
“Once you’re on the playground, there are very limited activities for people in wheelchairs” and those with other disabilities, he said.
“There needs to be some equipment for them to use,” added Janet McIntosh, principal of Brewer’s elementary schools.
The new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school on Parkway South is scheduled to open in the fall, and the playground is located between the two main hallways.
Lee asked the committee to consider investigating adding amenities for students with handicaps, and the committee agreed without question.
“The challenge for us is the playground is not that big,” he said. “We have to be creative there.”
Amanda Bost, a Brewer school committee and building committee member, said creating activities that all students can participate in should be the goal.
“It might not involve buying equipment at all,” she said.
Jerry Goss, a City Council member, Brewer trustee and building committee member, suggested providing a couple of extra wheelchairs for children without handicaps to use during recess so “one gains an appreciation for the other and no one feels alone on the playground.”
Goss, who is chairman of the Brewer High School district trustees, said adding features to the playgrounds for the handicapped was a topic at the last trustees meeting.
Lee created a subcommittee to look into the matter and said after the meeting that he planned to contact Alpha One, a Bangor center that promotes independent living for those with disabilities, and the Brewer Recreation Department for additional comment.
Construction at the 156,000-square-foot school is on schedule, project manager Steve Pedersen of WBRC Architects-Engineers of Bangor told the committee.
“Right now, we’re about 85 percent complete,” he said. “We still have probably five months of work left.”
May 2 is the scheduled day the keys to the building will be handed over to school officials, Pedersen said.
During the meeting, the committee also:
- Heard that a drop ceiling will be installed in the main corridors and cafeteria to cover up piping and ductwork that originally would have been left exposed.
- Got an update about the Name-a-Seat capital campaign created to raise funds to purchase a 9-foot Steinway grand piano for the performing arts center and to fund all future maintenance. Engraved seat plaques for the center’s 490 seats are being sold to those who make tax-deductible contributions of more than $375. Seat plaques are available first-come, first-served, and all the money raised will go into a capital reserve fund managed by the city.