NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has delayed its presentation for a new school project until June while it does some more number crunching.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said on Tuesday that he and Superintendent James Montepare asked last week that the city's school project presentation be posptoned. They would have appeared before the MSBA's Facilities Assessment Subcommittee on Wednesday.
"I started getting a little concerned that our numbers aren't as close as they can be," said the mayor. "We can't afford any surprises."
The School Building Committee voted Feb. 29 in order to place its recommendation to renovate Conte Middle School as a new K-7 school in front of the Massachusetts School Building Authority this month.
But in conversations with project manager Carl Weber of SBS Building Solutions early last week, Alcombright said some of the figures for nonreimbursable expenses — such as for demolition — for Conte and the other options raised questions.
The mayor said that prompted him to step back and have the numbers double-checked to get a more detailed and accurate estimate.
"We're just making sure. We'll keep working on the numbers and convene the School Building Committee again," he said. "Based on what we found out, we decided to step back and make sure, as sure as we possibly can, that we're moving in the right direction."
Alcombright said the School Building Authority has been accommodating in allowing the city to hold off until the June meeting. That delay will affect the construction timeline but not the project's standing since its deadline had been extended to October. Double-checking the costs will also allow the city to better present its arguments for why Conte should renovated, he said.
The School Building Committee selected Conte after the SBA rejected its attempt to present two projects as a single solution for the closure of the middle school. Alcombright said the project will provide the best educational solution as well as revive an important downtown structure.
The mayor is hoping to fund the project without having to resort to a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion, so cost estimates need to be tight.
"I don't want to get to July to ask the City Council to bond a $30 million project and found out we need more," said the mayor.
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Something is happening here which the public is not being told. If one reads between the lines it would appear the State has a problem with this project. Why would you submit a proposal and then begin questioning it? There is more to this story.
This Administration is rapidly losing its credibility. They fudged the numbers to make Conte look like the best option. After it was voted as the option to move forward with ( Against the people of North Adams) then they come back and say Conte is still the best option but it may be 8 million on the taxpayers backs which would make it the most expensive and still least popular with the people of North Adams. You have got to be kidding? What is the real story?? Transparency?? Please! Everybody knows that downtown is not the place for an elementary school especially with no place to play. Do you really think it will increase business that much down there? The free money to deal with the old Drury building has clouded this administrations judgment and the people of North Adams will be the ones who suffer. I hope the MSBA sees through all these smoke and mirrors. Keep at them Bender! They are out of control!
Whats funny is the new level of censorship Tammy is now practicing. The story about the latest council meeting is not on this site, northadams.com. Why is that Tammy? I do know. Its because comments here to not have to be pre-approved to be shown. I posted this same comment on the council meeting on iberkshires.com and guess what, Tammy did not put it up.
The statments below were made by Mr. Montepare in a April 8, 2009 article on iberkshires. Now the population is increasing?
School officials have said it didn't make sense to pour more money into the building(conte) at the same time the population was declining.
The schools (Elementary) would be somewhat pressed but with the projected decline in population, their enrollment will be back to current levels within four years, said Montepare. Total enrollment has dropped from 1,900 to 1,600 and is expected to decline another 300 more.
They must really want that money to bring Conte back from the dead to contradict what they said in the 2009 article. They said they wouldn't do Sullivan because it required a retaining wall. Now they are looking at a wall twice as high at the Conte site.
from: MArgo forgot about the retaining wall at Conte