CLARKSBURG -- A feasibility study finds that Town Hall could house a preschool classroom for 10 to 12 students.

Guntlow and Associates' study, reviewed recently by the School Committee, estimates construction costs from $220,000 to $240,000. The study did not include design costs.

"It probably came out higher than we may have anticipated," Northern Berkshire School Union Superintendent Jon Lev said.

Town residents have long called for the establishment of a preschool. Currently many parents send their children to schools in neighboring communities.

Residents overwhelmingly agreed at June 2013's annual town meeting to fund the Guntlow and Associates study using $8,000 from the school's stabilization fund. Last fall, the school signed an agreement with the Williamstown architectural firm to conduct the study at a cost of $4,300.

Discussion has focused on using a vacant space in the first floor of Town Hall at 111 River Road, which was originally constructed as a school.

According to the study, the largest expense would be making the classroom handicap accessible -- roughly $30,000 to $50,000 for an exterior ramp and $20,000 for an interior stair lift. Other estimated expenses include a kitchenette for $15,000, electrical and safety improvements for $15,000, and painting and lead abatement for $20,000.

In the study's summary, Vincent P. Guntlow wrote the largest expense would be providing accessibility to the first floor. In addition, the construction would require a number of code-required building improvements from the building use classification change.

Lev suggested some of the cost could be paid in part through the $125,000 currently in the school's stabilization fund, an action that would need a two-thirds vote the annual town meeting, as well as the school choice fund.

School officials are expected to attend the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the study.

To reach Edward Damon,
edamon@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 224.
On Twitter, @BE_EDamon