“We’ve had an issue for decades at the museum with our elderly or handicapped people not being able to visit the exhibits,” said Museum President Arno Martini. “It is a two story building.”
The Sacramento Valley Museum, located at 1491 E Street, is housed in the old Williams High School, which was built in 1911.
The building, now owned by the city, sat dormant for a number of years after the Class of 1956 graduated, and students moved to the current high school campus. The museum’s upper floor is not accessible to wheelchairs or people unable to walk up a flight of stairs; something city and museum officials acknowledged has greatly limited visitors over the years.
Martini said the museum board had looked at installing an elevator, but deemed it a project that would not only be too expensive, but detrimental to the historic preservation of the structure.
“The easiest thing we could come up with is a chair lift,” he said. “They aren’t exactly cheap, but are much cheaper than an elevator.”
There are two stairwells at the Sacramento Valley Museum, located on the east and west sides of the building. The front entryway to the museum is a flight of concrete steps to the upper floor, which houses the exhibits relating to the early pioneers of the valley.
Side entrances allow disabled visitors access to ground level exhibits, which include the high school alumni room, military and agricultural exhibits.
Martini said just one chair lift would make the museum more accessible to people who cannot enjoy the museum in its entirety.
“We’re just looking for a little help,” he said.
The City Council agreed June 20 to help the museum by first offering the city engineer to evaluate the structure to see what would meet ADA requirements, and to bring back to the council a complete estimate of the costs.
“The $30,000 (for a lift) may cover it, or it may not,” said City Manger Frank Kennedy. “I know a full wheelchair lift would be far more than $30,000, but it would meet ADA requirements and bring the building into compliance.” The Colusa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday contributed $19,500 toward ADA improvements, from Supervisor Kent Boes’ special departmental budget account.