Accessibility was the theme during a presentation at Barker School on Thursday.

Dauphin MLA Brad Michaleski, other provincial government officials, and representatives from the Mountain View School Division were at the school to talk about the improvements recently done to the building.

A full-sized elevator was just one part of the 1.47 million dollars in upgrades. Other improvements included barrier-free washrooms that made the amenities easier for staff and students.

Donna Davidson, the superintendent and CEO for Mountain View School Division, says it’s important to maintain and upgrade their facilities so that they can serve the students of today but also children in the future. She notes that that is an efficient way to use taxpayers’ dollars.

“There’s evidence that indicates that if children are educated in facilities that are safe and healthy, their outcomes are better,” said Davidson. She goes on to explain how some consider schools as the third teacher. It’s not just the physical building but also how the teacher structures their classroom, where they put the desks and how they use that physical space.

 She says at one time they might not have any students who require an elevator, but during the year there are always cases where temporary injuries occur, and students need to use crutches or a wheelchair.

She also mentioned that the elevator is beneficial for parents and other members of the community to be able to access all parts of the building. One example included parent-teacher interviews where parents who struggled with stairs were unable or struggled to get to the second or third floor because of the lack of accessibility.

“It’s a big part of the community. Barker School has been around for a long time, lots of families have gone through these facilities,” said MLA Brad Michaleski. “Accessibility is a great addition.”   

The full-sized elevator is replacing a stair lift. The old system took a long time to use and only allowed one student to use it at a time. Davidson explains that you had to strap in and then slowly elevate to the top. With the elevator, students can now be wheeled in and brought to all four stops, including the basement.