Ramp collapses leaving stairs as the only option

Ashlyn Hoffmann, Staff Writer

On Nov. 10, 2022, four students were walking up the old, wooden ramp from the senior parking lot to the school when the floorboards snapped, causing the students to stumble. Though all four students were unharmed, concerns of student safety are rising as the quality of Dulaney ramps are being brought into question. 

Prior to the ramp collapsing, there were many signs that the ramp was becoming a safety hazard. The old ramp was made of  wood that had been worn down from years of inclement weather and use. According to the article, “What Type of Wheelchair Ramp Material is Best,” by Lifeway Mobility, wooden ramps require a lot of maintenance as they are prone to rotting, warping, splintering and cracking- all qualities that the Dulaney ramp possessed. Lifeway Mobility shared that the best material for an outdoor ramp is aluminum, as it does not require much maintenance and has been found to be extremely durable for extended periods of time. Aluminum ramps are also affordable and easy to install, making them a perfect replacement for the wooden one.

Fortunately, the ramp breaking didn’t pose much of a threat to walkers, but they are intended to increase accessibility for disabled people. Unreliable ramps are more dangerous than the ramp not being there altogether. 

According to Principle Wyncoop, Baltimore County plans on fixing the ramp by the week of Dec. 19 to Dec. 23, 2022. With stairs being the only option, students who relied on the ramp must use the main entrance on the other side of the school, or enter at the back of the senior parking lot, where they will enter right into a stairwell.  

Dulaney has students who are unable to take the stairs, whether that be from a temporary sports injury or a disability. Additionally, students have classes on all three levels, resulting in students using the stairs numerous times throughout the day. The past few years have raised many challenges regarding the stairwells as they are often overcrowded and hard to navigate. In the future, safer ramps, both in and outside of the school, could lead to safer routes between classes and create a more secure environment for everyone.