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Handicapped accessibility to stadium is criticized

Published November 16. 2011 05:01PM

Tamaqua Area School Board members may be taking another look at the district's handicapped accessibility as a result of a parent's concern.

At Tuesday's regular meeting, board members heard from Matt Brickler, a parent of an eighth grade band front member, who voiced his dissatisfaction about not being able to see his daughter perform at a recent football game. Brickler, who is in a wheelchair, thanked the district's athletic director Mike Hromyak who allowed him to watch the band's performance from the track surrounding the field.

"It's been 20 years since ADA," he said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates public buildings make structural modifications to accommodate disabled individuals. "What's being done about this?"

Superintendent Carol Makuta said that when the district did the last major renovation project to the athletic fields, they consulted with individuals who may have needed special access or modifications to the existing layout. "No one has come forward since, so we thought this problem was solved," she said, adding that the gate on the east side of the field is open so that spectators who need to be closer to the field can enter from that side. "When we look at projects, we make sure we're ADA compliant."

Makuta said that other modifications to district buildings and grounds have been made in the past. "We've cut curbs, installed stair lifts, and made adjustments to our bathrooms for our disabled students. We want to make sure they have a good school experience." As for the stadium's seating, she said, "We did have people come in to see what could be done," but said that cutting any of the seating on the home side would be a major expense.

"We have molded seats on that side, and it would be a huge project to remove rows of seats." she explained. One estimate the district received for such a project was approximately $30,000. Athletic Director Hromyak said that any upgrades or changes to stadium seating may have to be done on both sides to be in compliance. Makuta said that the district has explored other options to make the stadium more handicapped-accessible. "We will have to revisit what was explored before," Makuta said.

In other matters, the board approved a number of coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers, and game workers for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year: Amanda Hascin, high school teacher, Swimming Program volunteer; Caitlin Miller, speech therapist, Swimming Program volunteer; Kyle Berezwick, Mahanoy Plane, volunteer assistant girls' basketball coach; Kyle Neifert, Tamaqua, adult game worker; Shane McCabe, Mahanoy City, Assistant Varsity Wrestling Coach at the rate of $2,425; David Holmes, Tamaqua, Head Junior High Wrestling Coach at the rate of $1,875; Jonathan Shirvinski, Tamaqua, Assistant Junior High Wrestling Coach at the rate of $1,025; George Sanchez, Tamaqua, Volunteer Assistant Wrestling Coach; Jeffrey Reading, elementary teacher, Head Basketball Coach at the rate of $4,120; Henry Woods, Tamaqua, Volunteer Assistant Baseball Coach; Thomas Messerschmidt, New Ringgold, Head Junior High Track Coach at the rate of $1,746; Thomas P. Bonner,New Ringgold, Assistant Junior High Track Coach at the rate of $1,188; Frank G. Wenzel, middle school teacher, Assistant Junior High Track Coach at the rate of $1,173.

The board also approved the hiring of the following substitute guest teachers: Amanda Dunn, New Ringgold; David Grady, Cumbola; Sara Hodon, Coaldale; Lora Shuliga, Hamburg. The resignation of Gail Hadesty, cafeteria worker, was also accepted effective December 31, 2011.

Makuta announced the winter Meet the Raiders night will be held on December 5 and the middle school band and chorus concerts will be held on December 8 at 7:30 p.m.

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