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Board to consider installing elevator

by Larry Chowning

At a cost of $46,000, the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to hire Entero Design P.C. from Petersburg to provide design work for installing an elevator in the Woodward Building.

Pinetop District supervisor Chip Holt said the Woodward Building does not comply with the American Disabilities Act, which requires handicapped access to public buildings.

Holt said he and his committee considered a chair lift instead of an elevator, but a lift would not accommodate someone in a wheelchair and it also would take up too much room on the stairs currently used to access the second floor of the Woodward Building.

Saluda District supervisor Pete Mansfield ask if Entero Design had any idea what an elevator would cost. When no one seemed to know, Mansfield said, “We are going to spend $46,000 to find out how much it is going to cost us,” he said. “What if it comes back and cost us $2.5 million?”

“Then we won’t have an elevator,” said Holt.

Board chair Jack Miller said because of health reasons he has not been able to use the steps of the Woodward Building “and I am the chairman of the board of supervisors. I don’t want my situation to determine it, but I do feel we need to have an elevator installed. We need to show some compassion for every man, woman and child who has a disability.”

Jamaica District supervisor Wayne Jessie agreed. “We live in an aged community,” said Jessie. “They (disabled persons) need to be able to get to the offices we have upstairs in the Woodward Building.”

This is not the first time the board has considered an elevator. The board once considered putting in an elevator off the front of the Woodward Building.

Holt said that the representative from Entero Design, P.C. suggested that it go on the side of the building next to the historic courthouse. “I think that is a much better plan,” said Holt. “We have been concerned of what it might look like on the front of the building.”

Mansfield said, “You just don’t spend $46,000 to get an idea of what an elevator is going to cost.” He also said he does not think due to the age of the building that an elevator is required.

Supervisors Miller, Jessie, Holt and Bob LeBoeuf voted to hire Entero, while Mansfield voted against.

posted 09.06.2017

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