Former City Councilor Robert M. Moulton Jr. filed the petition, sponsored by he, Katherine Montgomery and Hulda Jowett. The deadline for submission was 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25.
"I think there are other options out there," said Moulton on Monday night. "I don't think it was the right time with everything going on. ... I'm afraid of what's going to happen down the road."
Moulton said he'd turn in 1,800 signatures. City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said the signatures of 12 percent of the city's registered voters were required to move the petition forward.
The total number of registered voters was 8,751 on the Feb. 5, the date the borrowing order was given final approval. Pending an update on that number, the petition would have to have been signed by at least 1,050 registered voters.
Gomeau said signatures would be validated by the Board of Registrars.
The petition had been circulating around the community; Montgomery was soliciting signatures at WinterFest on Saturday and others had reportedly been outside D'Amours Big Y supermarket at various times over the last week.
Mayor Richard Alcombright early Monday evening declined to comment on the petition until he had had a chance to read over the language.
Gomeau said the city solicitor had been informed of the filing of the petition and its wording and would be advising on the next steps.
However, he said on Monday that he had no preference other than the city go back and review its options again after speaking with citizens.
While the majority of councilors had said they'd heard 2-1 in favor of the Conte renovation, Moulton said that was not his experience.
"Most of the people I talked to weren't for it," he said. "I just think there's overwhelming sentiment out there that they're not comfortable with this."
Montgomery had called Conte an "inconvenient, unpopular school building" at a recent council meeting. On Saturday, she repeated her concerns that city had failed to research other land options to build a new school instead opting to put money into one with roof and site issues.
The century-old Conte was closed in 2009 in part because of budget cuts and needed repairs. A year later, a study was commissioned to review the city's academic structure and buildings, with goal of finding a solution for the housing and eduation of 620 students. Conte, thought to be out of the running, was put forward by the architects as a prime candidate for reconstruction.
Of the preliminary cost estimates to the city, Conte fell in the lower middle at $6.4 million along with a new school at Kemp Park, a new Greylock came in slightly cheaper at $5.6 and the other options ranged from $7 million to $10.7 million. After more than a year of discussion and study, and the state's rejection of a so-called "two school" option, the School Building Committee and School Committee voted to go forward with Conte.
"I'd go either way but let the people vote on it," said Moulton.
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Where were these people when the meetings were held over the past year or so. I went to one meeting and less than 20 people showed up. If these people want to stop the project, they should have been at the meetings and spoke up then
29M might make a nice facility out of Conte, but it's central location is about the only thing going for it....Bussing-wise. It's central location in the city is also one of its downfalls; there is very limited parking, the kids must walk through city streets to get to and from school, and it's grounds do not make very good play areas for little kids. I would think Greylock's much more vast and level area, neighborhood location, and need for updates itself would make a conversion at Greylock a no-brainer.