Accessibility and an Elevator
It may seem like we don’t have a need to have the second floor of the education wing available as one could just move a class or a meeting downstairs. However, if you have talked with me (Rev. Rachel) about this topic, you will have heard the story of the student of Temple Shalom who had to have his class moved downstairs every year as he needed a device to support walking. No child or adult should be singled out for their ability or perceived lack of ability. I have heard many times through the years of people who didn’t attend choir for a few months after a knee or hip replacement, or pulled tendon, etc. as they couldn’t do the stairs. Some have also said, “we don’t have that need in our congregation.” I would say we do, each and every Sunday if you look around. As one parishioner said to me recently, “I may not need it now, but I will be glad it is there for me someday in the future.”
So yes, the Vestry decided that we are installing an elevator. Our contractor and architect believe that putting it on the north end of the building will make the most sense, but we have not yet brought in the engineers and talked to the city.
We talked about a lift, but as the funding for the capital campaign is going so well, we are looking to extend our credit $250,000 extra which we will put into our budget to pay off over the next three to five years. An elevator can do more, last longer, and will be a worthwhile investment over time. Or as someone on the Vestry said, “If we are going to do this, let us do it right and not have someone asking in 20 years why we made the choice to do otherwise.”
At the same time we will also likely be combining both of the bathrooms upstairs into a single bathroom. This would allow wheelchair or walker access as needed. We are aware this might be a challenge for some of the larger 12-step groups that meet upstairs, yet we believe that accessibility needs to be a priority.