Saturday November 17, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Monument Mountain Regional High School has earned approval from the state School Building Authority to advance to the next phase of planning for school renovations and expansion.

On Tuesday, the Monument Mount ain School Building Committee will host a public input forum at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria to discuss opportunities to renovate and plan for the school with science, technology, engineering and math as well as vocational programming in mind.

Another public meeting to discuss green building design and sustainability is scheduled for Dec. 18.

State Treasurer Steven Grossman, chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy announced that the MSBA Board of Directors voted to proceed with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District into the schematic design phase for the high school.

"This approval brings the Monument Mountain Regional High School project much closer to fruition," said Grossman.

The district selected a proposal that would include schoolwide renovations to bring Monument’s infrastructure like plumbing, electrical wiring, security and handicap access up to code; create an enclosed courtyard; and also an expand the campus to include six new science laboratory and classroom spaces and a greenhouse.


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"Science has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. To get kids prepared and to be successful in this discipline, the space needs to be more sophisticated," said Berkshire Hills Superintendent Peter Dillon.

The MSBA will now work in collaboration with the district, architectural firm Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, of Cambridge and Margo Jones Architects of Greenfield, to produce detailed renderings of the proposed project.

Dick Coons, head of the Monument School Building Committee, said the design was among eight options under review by the group. Each option also had some variations. Coons called the option chosen as the "least objectionable" and said that the state put forth an initial cost estimate of about $52 million for the project.

Coons said many other factors have to be taken into consideration, such as green design and academic needs, as the district moves ahead in planning.

"That’s why we’re having these public outreach meetings, to get the general public involved in the process and help us decide what we need to put in there," Coons said.

He said the school building committee hopes have a solid plan with cost estimates to share with the school community and the district’s member towns by March.