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Bellevue High School Entrance to Be Made More Accessible

Bellevue Independent Schools is moving forward with plans to recreate the front entrance to Bellevue High School to better accommodate students with disabilities.

At the October meeting of the board of education, some families spoke about the lack of accessibility because of steps and an inconsistently available chair lift.

On Monday, Superintendent Robb Smith presented new plans to the board to address the situation. Smith said the school would be fully accessibly by the start of the next school year.

Architect Joe Hayes, of Ft. Mitchell-based Robert Ehmett Hayes & Associates, joined Smith in showing off preliminary plans for a new entrance. 

In addition to boosting accessibility, the plans, as they stand now (they are subject to change), would add an area to increase security.

Hayes said the two new side ramps would flank the front steps, leading to a graded level that eliminates the need for a wheelchair lift.

Dr. Anthony Strong, of Cincinnati-based investment and asset management firm Ross, Sinclaire, and Associates, explained the school district's current bonding power. He said that Bellevue could be approved for a $2 million bonding project.

The high school entrance project is estimated to cost between $800,000 and $1 million.

The district also has $550,000 from the school facilities construction commission, and $490,000 in bonds, which puts it in good shape financially for the project.

The board approved the plan, which will now face approval from state officials. Following that, the project can be put out to bid. Work would begin in the summer.

Bellevue city councilman Ryan Salzman, who serves as the city government's liaison to the school board, said that the city's approval may also be needed because the school is in an historic area. 

In other news, Salzman explained that after the November election, there will be significant change to the makeup of the city's government. A new mayor and four new members of city council will take office in January, joining Salman and councilman Steve Guidugli, who were reelected. 

Salzman said that he plans to revisit an earlier plan to roll out city-wide WiFi, which would give internet access to all students. He noted a similar project that added public WiFi to downtown Covington.

Grandview Elementary student Leah Roberts led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Superintendent Smith noted that Roberts had recently sent him a letter with ideas for improving her school.

The board also recognized the students of the month.

Teacher Patricia Grever was recognized upon her retirement after 32 years in the field, 20 of which were spent at Bellevue.

The Campbell County Public Library also announced that the Bellevue school district would be part of the Drop Your Drawers campaign, which ensures that all students have new, clean underwear.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top image: Rendering of new entrance to Bellevue High School (provided)
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