PITTSFIELD -- A Waltham firm has been tapped for the initial design work on a Taconic High School building project.

Pending successful contract negotiations with the city, Drummey, Rosane, Anderson Inc. will develop several construction options for Taconic's future at its Valentine Road campus.

DRA was picked from three finalists on Tuesday, following a meeting of city and state education officials in Boston, according to Pittsfield Public Schools Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

"All three had clearly done their homework, but DRA has a world-renowned education planner they work with," he said. "They have deep, deep history of doing vocational schools."

McCandless cited as examples Putnam Vocational in Springfield and Southeastern Regional Vocational, based in South Easton.

Once the city officially hires DRA, the design firm will begin working closely with the project's consultant, Skanska USA, the Massachusetts School Building Authority and Pittsfield School Building Needs Commission. The commission already has invited DRA to attend its next regular meeting scheduled for 5:15 Jan. 27 at Pittsfield High School.

DRA, Kaestle Boos Associates of New Britain, Conn. and Dore & Whittier of Burlington, Vt., and Newburyport were the consensus top three of 10 applicants by the SBA's design selection team last month. Each firm on Tuesday made a presentation to the panel consisting of 13 officials and volunteers from related fields and three Pittsfield officials: McCandless, commission co-chair Kathleen A. Amuso and Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi.

DRA will determine renovation and rebuilding options for the high school and provide designs for comparison.

That phase of the ongoing feasibility study for Taconic is expected to be completed late this year, and from the information and design alternatives, the city and state officials will determine costs and the best construction option. The city has set aside up to $1.3 million for the feasibility phase, but the state is expected to provide 78 to 80 percent of the funding -- as well as a similar percentage of the final project cost.

Pittsfield school officials have been collaborating with the SBA on a plan to expand or replace Taconic, built in 1969.

While the city and SBA are focused on Taconic, the have viewed both city high schools as part of a long-term construction goal. Pittsfield High School, built in 1931, is considered to be architecturally and physically in better condition than Taconic and is a candidate for renovation.

To reach Dick Lindsay:

rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,

or (413) 496-6233