South Egremont schoolhouse step closer to repairs
EGREMONT — Repairs to the South Egremont schoolhouse will begin in the spring of 2017 and will not interfere with school operations in the fall. That's the good news.
School district officials learned at Monday's meeting of selectmen that the town has won a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission to support the work. More good news.
Here's the catch: Even with this grant, the town is still about $50,000 short in completely funding the project, according to Selectman Mary Brazie.
She said the total estimated cost of the work, which will entail repairs to the foundation of the 160-year-old building, is about $214,000. The structure will also be made handicapped-accessible, Brazie said.
She noted how over the last two years, the town has raised about $114,000 towards the cost. But Selectman Bruce Turner said the town may have to go back to voters at a regular town meeting, or request a special town meeting, to free up the funds from either its free cash or the stabilization fund coffers.
"We have sufficient resources to cover it," Turner said.
Southern Berkshire Regional School District Superintendent David Hastings and School Committee Chairman Carl Stewart said that they have heard concerns that the work would have to start in April of 2017, necessitating the transfer of the schoolhouse's 16 students to Undermountain Elementary School in neighboring Sheffield.
But that is no longer an issue, according to selectman chairman Charles Flynn. Preliminary estimates indicate that the work will begin after students have left the building in June of 2017 and run through the summer. The finish date would be in August, said Flynn, before the students return for the 2017-18 school year.
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.
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