GREAT BARRINGTON -- Monument Mountain High School's multimillion dollar renovation has received an important endorsement from the town that will be hit with the largest bill.
The Great Barrington Board of Selectmen on Wednesday voted 3-1 to endorse the $56 million high school renovation. Residents will see an increase of $109 to $118 per $100,000 of a property's assessed value.
Selectmen Deborah Phillips, Andrew Blechman and Stephen Bannon -- who serves as chairman of the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee -- supported the measure.
"We don't have a lot of choices if we want to provide quality education," Phillips said. "I think it will go up regardless and in a less planned way [if we don't approve this]."
Selectman Sean Stanton abstained from a vote, citing a lack of information to make an informed decision, while Selectman Dan Bailly was the lone vote against the project.
"It's really tough being a parent with a child in the school system. It obviously needs upgrading," Bailly said, noting that he has heard from constituents who say they can't afford it. "Eventually someone needs to be their voice."
Two of the three towns in Berkshire Hills Regional School District now have endorsed the project. West Stockbridge's Select Board and Finance Committee approved the plan in September. The Stockbridge Board of Selectmen expect to hear a presentation on Oct. 21 at the Stockbridge town hall, according to the Selectmen's office.
If Stockbridge officials also endorse the project, residents of the member towns will vote Nov. 5 on the measure, as well as another ballot question to override Proposition 2 1/2.
The renovations are necessary because the facility is nearly 50 years old, said Berkshire Hills Regional School District Superintendent Peter Dillon during a project presentation to Selectmen on Tuesday.
Schoolwide renovations would include plumbing, electrical wiring, and bringing handicap access up to code. There also would be a new science laboratory, additional classroom space and a greenhouse.
The state has offered to reimburse $25 million, or 48.52 percent. The town would lose the funding at the end if it is not used.
Forgoing the renovations and performing piecemeal repairs would cost $40.2 million without additional amenities, which include the science wing, greenhouse, and other amenities, according to district officials.
On Wednesday, Dillon said the renovations will be needed regardless of whether voters approve the current measure.
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