WILLIAMSTOWN — Presidential primary voters in Williamstown will also be voting on a debt exclusion proposal to allow funding for the $64.8 million high school building project, for which the state would pay approximately 60 percent of the reimbursable cost, without impacting the town's 2 1/2 tax increase limit.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has pledged $33.2 million in state funding toward the cost of the project.

The local share of the cost would be between $31.5 million and $35.3 million.

Lanesborough taxpayers would be responsible for 32.3 percent of that cost, for an average annual tax increase between $304 to $392.

Williamstown taxpayers would pick up 67.7 percent of the local share of the cost, and face an increase in their average annual tax bill between $393 to $569.

The debt would be incurred by issuing bonds.

If either town fails to pass the debt exclusion, the project fails and the effort to replace the school would have to begin anew.

The building on Cold Spring Road was built in 1960, with an addition in 1972, when it served 1,200 students in 177,000 square feet.

Now it houses roughly 590 students from Grades 7 through 12.

Aging HVAC systems, inadequate science labs and mold issues have been cited. The structure also suffers from periodic issues in major building systems including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, building envelope and windows.


In 2009 the locker room ceiling collapsed and the antiquated boilers had to be replaced. In 2013 school was closed for two days because the HVAC system was overwhelmed by heat and high humidity, which settled on the floors making for a slick, hazardous situation.

Officials said the cost of repairing the structure would keep getting more expensive, and the state would not share in that cost. They also noted that with the new 133,000-square-foot building, energy costs would be cut by about 50 percent.

Lanesborough voters are set to vote on the debt exclusion proposal on March 15.