A crew of five Home Builders Association members arrived at St. Joseph Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Austintown, on Wednesday, Aug. 7 to outfit the front entrance with a wheelchair ramp.
"We were contacted about a need for a ramp because of a teacher who had multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair," said HBA Director Jennie Brewer. "We took the project to our remodeler's committee chairman for consideration and the committee agreed because it was a good cause."
SJIHM Principal Cathy Wigley said it was a parent, Molly Falloon, who helped arrange it. The teacher with MS has since retired, but is coming back to the school this fall as a volunteer.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Home Builders Association remodelers, including committee chairman Albert Alexander and members Joe Gifford, Nick McGinnis, and Sam Boak, donated their time to construct a wheelchair ramp at St. Joseph Immaculate Heart of Mary School on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
"We also have a child going through hip surgery right now and she could be temporarily in a wheelchair at the start of school," Wigley said.
The school was built in 1954 when handicap accessibility was not a requirement for public buildings.
"Now our school will be more handicap accessible for everyone," Wigley said.
The HBA crew donated their time and expertise to the project and the majority of materials were donated by Carter Lumber.
Brewer said the HBA gets a list of projects and decide and choose two each year that they are going to tackle.
The new handicap ramp is being placed at the front entrance to the school. There is a walk that comes from the bus drop-off lot and, when it enters the school, there are two steps to get to the second floor main entrance. The ramp will be placed over part of those steps to allow a wheelchair to be easily maneuvered to the front door.
Wigley said the ramp can also be used by elderly family members who attend their grandchildren's special events at the school.