MCLA's Facilities Department gets new home


NORTH ADAMS -- After years of operating out of various campus buildings, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Facilities Department has a place to call home.

The college on Friday held a ceremony to celebrate the newly completed Facilities Management building on Ashland Street, marking the first time the department will be in one space in decades.

"The efficiencies we'll gain by being under one roof, I can't talk about enough," Director of Facilities Charles Kimberling said.

The $2 million, 12,000-square-foot, pre-engineered structure, designed by EDM Architects of Pittsfield, includes space for carpentry, electrical, grounds, HVAC, painting and plumbing shops, as well as office and meeting space, said Ron Griffin, a principal with EDM.

Built by Allegrone Construction Co. of Pittsfield, the building features an "environmentally responsible design," he said, and is about 20 percent more efficient than building codes require.

Tall windows provide ample daylight in office areas, while skylights help illuminate shop areas, he said. Light fixtures use efficient LED technology and are controlled by the amount of natural light and time of day. The walls and roof have extra insulation, he said, and the roof was painted white to reduce the amount of heat transferred to the building.

"All of these improvements have been put in place with the idea of ongoing operating costs for the facility itself," he said.

The finishing touch came from facilities employees, Kimberling said, who refinished and repurposed old cabinets and drawers from Bowman Hall.

James Stakenas, vice president of administration and finance, noted exterior landscaping and paving is expected to be completed soon.

"This was our plan -- to let you see the building in absolute newness," he said prior to attendees receiving a self-guided tour of the building.

The department of 50 employees has historically been spread throughout various campus buildings and dormitories. Most recently, the administrative office has operated out of a Flagg townhouse, with the back of the Brewer Perkins building holding some shop space.

The college initially planned to rehabilitate the 26,000-square-foot former Shapiro & Sons warehouse at 341 Ashland St., part of which was demolished for additional parking spaces.

The roof collapsed after heavy snows in January 2011. Though the insurance paid for the repairs, the administration calculated that demolition and building a new structure would be more cost effective.

Mayor Richard J. Alcombright spoke of other investments on the Ashland Street corridor, "all of which have contributed to the overall improvement of an area that has and continues to improve."

To reach Edward Damon:
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