The original elevator at C. Milton Wright High School is expected be replaced by the time the next school year starts in September, Harford County school officials said.
The elevator was installed when the school was built 39 years ago, Cornell Brown, assistant superintendent for operations for Harford County Public Schools, told members of the Harford County Council at their meeting Tuesday night in Bel Air, where the council unanimously approved a $300,000 budget transfer to pay for the new elevator.
The funding is coming from money leftover after the HVAC replacement at Fallston High School, Eric Clark, director of budget for the school system, said.
“That project is almost at completion,” Clark said.
The elevator has been working sporadically, he told the council. It’s working now, but that could change.
All the parts have to made specifically for the elevator, so it will take several weeks for it to be delivered once it’s ordered, he said.
How many students use the elevator varies “week to week, month to month,” Brown said in response to a question from Councilman Patrick Vincenti.
Use can depend on a student’s health or injuries, for instance if they’re using a wheelchair or are on crutches. At the beginning of the year, three students were assigned to use the elevator regularly, Brown said.
Councilman James McMahan questioned why there was so much left over in the Fallston project account.
“Was it good luck, good planning or did you steal it from somewhere?” McMahan asked.
The Fallston project, which cost about $14 million and was done a few summers ago, went well, Brown said, and was on time, on schedule and money was left over at the end for contingencies.
School officials have already been working with a contractor who’s been making the repairs to get a ballpark price for the CMW elevator replacement, which is how the school system came up with the $300,000 figure, Clark said.
Based on his experience, the price tag “doesn’t seem like a lot of money,” Vincenti said, recalling a new elevator at the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum that cost around $118,000 10 years ago.
The money is being transferred into an American with Disabilities Act account, so any money left over from the CMW elevator project will remain in the account and will be used strictly for ADA related projects, Clark said.