Towns asked to fund study of possible Mount Greylock High School project


WILLIAMSTOWN -- Lanesborough and Williamstown residents will be asked to approve a feasibility study this spring that could potentially lead to a new or renovated high school.

Mount Greylock Regional School District officials estimate the cost to be $850,000, with a reimbursement rate of 55 percent by the state.

Chairwoman Carrie Greene said during Thursday's School Building Committee meeting the study would tell officials whether to pursue a renovation, a rebuild, or a rehabilitation of the current building.

The district has long sought funds for its aging campus, which was built in 1960. The district was accepted into the state's School Building Authority's eligibility phase last October. The MSBA requires both towns approve to fund the study in order for the district to be selected to continue.

Greene explained the district would incur the $850,000 debt and be reimbursed $467,500 as the study is performed.

The district would contribute $150,000, leaving $232,5000. Lanesborough then would pay $93,000 and Williamstown, $139,500 over two years beginning in fiscal year 2017.

If both towns endorse the plan, Greene said, the MSBA could invite the district into its capital pipeline by July 2014. The district would then hire an owners project manager and an architect, who would conduct the study from January 2015 to June of 2016.

"The process takes a while," she said.

In other business, members discussed how the building's age is causing maintenance issues.

Facilities manager Jesse Wirtes said quotes for replacing the auditorium's asbestos fire curtain run between $68,000 and $82,000. The bidding process would begin shortly, he said.

District officials have volunteered not to test the curtain as ordered by the fire marshall to prevent the hazardous material from potentially being released into the air. In December, Building Inspector Michael Card ordered the district cease theater operations in the auditorium because of safety concerns.

January's extremely low temperatures wreaked havoc on the building's aging heating and ventilation system, Wirtes said.

"One day we had our four boilers running at full bore for 16 hours straight," he said. "On those days, we were constantly walking around and checking the system."

The low temperatures led to several exhaust fans needing replacement, he said, and the schoolwide temperature varied wildly due to malfunctioning pneumatic controls. A classroom was recorded as being 52 degrees at one point, he said.

To reach Edward Damon:

or (413) 663-3741, ext 224.

On Twitter: @BE_EDamon


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