In life sometimes injuries or physical setbacks happen, but that doesn’t mean a person cannot expect to participate in life. That is why handicapped accessibility is important for us all. Although not all of Elkin High School is accessible by those in wheelchairs or on crutches, that may soon be changing for the better.
Elkin High School student Dylan Kupner gets around in his wheelchair every day, and it can sometimes be frustrating. Kupner has a few ideas about how to make the school better for students with handicaps. “You know the ramp in the auditorium lobby that was made for me in middle school, and it doesn’t work? I’d probably fix that,” said Kupner.
Elkin City Schools Maintenance Director John Altemueller explained that the lift outside the auditorium has been repaired, but the device cannot safely transport heavier loads with motorized wheelchairs and older students.
Altemueller commented that he is aware of the need to renovate Elkin High for greater accessibility. “It’s not fair to exclude someone because of their disability, but it takes time [to complete renovations].”
Those renovations also cost thousands of dollars which can be difficult to locate in tough economic times and tight county budgets.
Altemueller said renovations to the gymnasium will hopefully begin in the spring of 2019, but it has and continues to be a matter of funding with money coming from Surry County.
Principal Joel Hoyle also understands it can be hard for students with handicaps, and he is looking forward to improvements in the future.
“The cost of the things we need to make the gym more handicapped accessible [have been] too expensive, but the process has begun,” said Hoyle.
Kupner agreed that the gym would be a great place to begin improving access. “There are so many different sports events that I’d like to attend but can’t because of difficulties entering the gym,” said Kupner.
Students like Kupner are looking forward to changes, but few details are available as to what those new additions will look like. As Hoyle explained, “The process [of planning] is beginning but not complete yet.”
Landon Jackson, Adam Spicer, Colin Luffman, and Christopher Propst are English students at Elkin High School.