Letter: No good case for delaying Mt. Greylock school plan

No case for delaying Mt. Greylock school plan

To the editor:

Typically for a large public project, the proposed addition-renovation of the Mount Greylock Regional School building has generated different opinions, suggestions, and claims in the media and on websites.

One such idea is that a "no" vote will result in an opportunity to vote on a revised, much lower cost project in May. While a revote would be a possibility, revisions to the proposed project could not be as major as some believe. In fact, they would likely, at best, consist of the additional value engineering steps that would be part of the subsequent detailed design phase anyway. And likely cost increases due to project delay could be expected to offset these savings.

Another idea is that a "no" vote would allow a complete re-tooling of the proposed project to further reduce the building size by eliminating tuition and choice students. This has many implications from an educational programming standpoint, but from a project standpoint would probably result in Mount Greylock having to reapply to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), which is ready to reimburse upwards of $33.2 million of the proposed project costs.

It's taken Mt. Greylock 10 years to get to this point in the highly competitive MSBA process. Meanwhile responsibility for repair and maintenance of the aging, over-sized, and inefficient building would fall to the district and its member towns.

Additionally, some suggest postponing the project because the Berkshire County Education Task Force is studying ways for local school districts to share services. But this group's work is in its early stages, its leaders have said that they do not believe that it will result in school consolidations, and the Task Force is on record stating that it does not support delaying the Mount Greylock project. At this point, it would only be speculation regarding the Task Force's eventual recommendations.

Additional information regarding the proposed project can be found on the School District's website under the Building Project. This is not an easy choice for many, but the voters of Lanesborough have an opportunity to make a statement regarding the future for education in our community, and to do so in a cost-effective way.

On Tuesday, March 15, Lanesborough voters will have a chance to say "yes, I support this project." I urge the voters to get informed and vote.

Mark Schiek, Lanesborough, The writer is chair of the Mount Greylock Regional School Building Committee.


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