WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional High School will be on the hook for unexpected costs from the locker room construction project but exactly how much is still unknown.
The state School Building Authority denied reimbursement for about $123,000 worth of change orders and officials have been pleading their case to receive the 54 percent reimbursement. Initially school officials believed there was only $78,000 but that was only regarding the construction. School officials were later informed about another $45,000 in other costs the MSBA also refused to reimburse.
Now, school officials are still nearing the end of negotiations but don't have the exact dollar figure that will have to be paid for out of next year's budget.
"Sit tight. The numbers are moving every day. This is the latest but it could be something completely different next week," Building Subcommittee member Jenny Gerrard told the School Committee last Tuesday. "We went back on the construction side already and tried to argue our case about what should be eligible and as of this afternoon, I think we got a portion of that."
Gerrard and School Committee Chairman Robert Ericson have been pleading their case for many of the change orders. A $30,000 order for windows in the locker rooms will now be reimbursed and Gerrard said she saw a few other costs for which the school has a strong case to receive reimbursement.
A total of $123,000 in change orders were not reimbursed. That money has been paid and the 46 percent not reimbursed will affect the school's upcoming budget. Gerrard said the MSBA is in the processing of drafting another audit and the school will respond to that.
"We're in deep negotiations on how much the MSBA will refund to us," Ericson said.
The MSBA recently audited the expenses in the $1.5 million locker room and boiler repairs that began two years ago when the locker room's roof collapsed. Gerrard said neither she nor Ericson have had time to comb through the latest report and categorize those "other costs." The biggest issue, Gerrard said, is that the change orders for the project was "very high."
School officials are hoping to finish negotiations in January instead of "dragging it out," Gerrard said. The back-and-forth came as a surprise to some committee members, who said they were glad that they have the opportunity to win back some of those costs.
"I just think it is terrific that they are even willing to talk about it," School Committee member David Langston said.
Gerrard said the MSBA has been "incredibly helpful" in the negotiations and paperwork.
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Can someone help me? How is it that Hoosac Valley can build a new school (original building is newer than Mt. Greylock) and Mt. Greylock is using Band Aids with their old school? Just asking here for clarification, Thanks!
I understand, is there a reason why Mt. Greylock was not granted approval? Did they even apply? Seems like the current school is too large and in disrepair and now there are concerns about the health hazards in the building. It seems to make sense to me that a new school is needed.
Editor: They did apply a few times but the push for a new building halted when the locker room's ceiling collapsed and they did not apply in 2010. Exactly why they were not approved before then was decided by the MSBA, which would have put millions of dollars into it. Now Mt. Greylock is getting back into that "pipeline." I will also add that officials at Hoosac pushed very hard for their new school continuously since the MSBA restructured in 2008. - Andy McKeever