Over February break, an automated door system was installed on one set of bathrooms on each floor of Westwood High School. These doors are easily activated with just the push of a button and serve to make the high school even more handicapped accessible.
Westwood High School Principal Sean Bevan said, “A facilities director approached me and said that this is an enhancement that they’d like to do. They consulted with me on which bathrooms we would like to have them installed in. It’s two bathrooms: one on the first floor and one on the second floor, and my decision was simply that we put them closest to where the elevator was.”
According to Westwood Public Schools Director of Operations Ken Aries, “The process on my end started back in October when asked by Mr. Bevan and Student Services about the possibility of installing auto door openers on the main entrance doors by guidance and the main entrance doors to the High School. We then had another request to look at the bathrooms. This project started in the first week of January with design and quotes for the work, [and they] were installed by New England School Services Inc.”
The American Disabilities Act is a civil law that requires that all public buildings be handicap accessible and also regulates things such as handicap parking. “We’re always looking for areas to improve the building, and our handicap access, which is compliant by the most basic ADA requirements, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Even if you don’t have a disability just being in an environment that is accessible for everybody I think it allows us all to understand that that’s just a basic right for everybody, and I’m looking forward to the exterior doors being automated as well,” said Bevan.
Bevan and one of the facility directors initially expressed concern with students overusing the automatic doors just for fun: “When kids returned from February break they used them a bunch and kept hitting the button, and I was a little worried that they’d break it just because those buttons aren’t designed to be used a hundred times a day. I just knew it was gonna be a day where kids all tested it out and then they forgot about it.”
The project of installing the automatic door openers on the Guidance Department and main entrance doors took place the last week of March. STANLEY Access Technologies installed these openers.