Community / Opinion

“Fostering greater access and equality” in Bardwell and Beveridge

Accessibility is one of the most important additions to the newly rebuilt Upper School Classroom Building. An elevator will be available for future Dana students who use a wheelchair or anyone else in our community who may benefit from an elevator. It will also help to turn our goals of being an inclusive community into a reality. Having an elevator tells potential students touring Dana that we are welcoming to all students and are accommodating to everyone’s needs.

 Now that the classroom building is nearly complete we must turn our attention to renovating Bardwell and Beveridge because these places are not accessible to anyone in our community who cannot take the stairs. The Upper School Classroom Building is a part of the Fearless Futures campaign, which states “Your support will help… foster greater access and equality.” If we want these words to hold any weight we must renovate both Bardwell and Beveridge so that we can “foster greater access” at Dana.

The new elevator in the classroom building is wonderful and now I think that we should turn our focus and funds toward two other buildings on campus that are not accessible— Bardwell and Beveridge. With many performances and community events/ meetings held inside, Bardwell should be the first priority. Daniel Morris, Director of Theater, has observed people carrying their grandparents up the stairs in Bardwell to see the shows and over time fewer grandparents have shown up. If there was an elevator in Bardwell, family members who are not able to use stairs would be able to come and watch their student’s performances. There are many things that we need to do to make Dana a more accessible place and this can be a start. 

With theater classes and performances in Bardwell, a student who may require an elevator would then not be able to take any of these classes because of their location. Now I’m sure the school would accommodate that student, for example having the class meet somewhere else, but I don’t think we should wait until you have an issue to solve it.

I understand that these renovations would take large amounts of money, however, donor funds have helped Dana to achieve various goals in the Fearless Futures campaign like the turf field and classroom building. The endowment also contributes to things such as financial aid and student activities. Money would play a big part in bringing these renovations to fruition; so Bardwell and Beveridge should be added to the Fearless Futures Campaign.

When Bardwell and Waldo had their seats replaced a few years ago this did not count as structural renovation which means the buildings did not need to be brought up to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. The ADA states that any buildings built before 1990 that undergo new structural renovations must include an elevator. 

Having an elevator added to Bardwell will create an accessible and inclusive space for the future of Dana

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