Insiders' look at failed Greylock building
To the editor:
I'm a lifelong resident of Lanesborough. Since 2008 I have worked at Mt. Greylock Regional School, first in a custodian/grounds maintenance position and now as facilities supervisor. I know the building better than anyone else and take this responsibility very seriously.
I am keenly aware of and driven to look out for the health and safety of the students and staff. Additionally, I always keep the financial interests of the residents of Lanesborough and Williamstown, whom I work for, in the forefront. I am proud of the work we've done to make the building and grounds safer and to do so with an eye on the money.
I don't think that many residents understand how fragile the building and its systems are. We can barely keep some systems running. For example, when the outdoor temperature stays well below freezing as it did all last winter, I monitor the heating /ventilation system 24/7 from home to ensure that the systems were running and not causing any pipes to freeze. The majority of our heating/ventilation systems are still the original 1960/1968 ones.
It has also taken a lot of hard work to control the mold. This has become a daily strain for which we currently have a protocol in place to ensure items are addressed immediately. This, however, does also come with associated costs and need to purchase equipment to alleviate the problems.
Recently, questions were asked why a building like Pittsfield High could last for a hundred years but not Mt. Greylock. Pittsfield High (1931) was built to last, with good materials and good workmanship. The Mt. Greylock building was built with lesser grade materials and basic workmanship, to construct a low-cost functional building at the time (1960-1968).
As the person who knows the building and has taken on the responsibility for a healthy and safe environment for our students, staff and communities, I can say to the people of Lanesborough and Williamstown that the current building has exceeded its life expectancy for which it was intended. Any further expenditures for the current building would be fiscally irresponsible for our communities.
I support the Mt. Greylock Regional school project, and urge Lanesborough to move forward with a "yes" vote on March 15!
Jesse Wirtes, Lanesborough The writer is facilities supervisor at Mt. Greylock Regional School and a member of the Mt. Greylock Building Committee.