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Public Workshops Scheduled For Pittsfield School Building

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
05:49PM / Monday, June 02, 2014
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A School Building Needs Commission subcommittee laid out the schedule for public meetings before the July 28 decision.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In two months, the School Building Needs Commission will decide whether to renovate Taconic High School, build new or a mix of both.

An application choosing and option needs to be submitted by Aug. 7, setting a deadline of July 28 for the commission to decide which way to go.

Leading up to that, two public input sessions are expected to help guide that decision. The first will be in just two weeks, on Monday, June 16, At 6 p.m. school officials will lead a walk-through of the current Taconic High School before returning to the cafeteria at 6:30 for a workshop.

Members of the outreach committee said they hope to break into workshop groups.

"The site might be a focus area, exterior building design is a focus area," said the consultant Paul Kneedler of consulting firm Skanska. "Basically, we want to get input, the thoughts from the community, as to different opinions the design or planning process could go for these processes."

Kneedler said the group won't have the specific details of the project at that point, which is what the public will likely want. But, by addressing such things as closing down playing fields during construct, the traffic patterns around the school or where students are seen darting through yard will help in crafting the project.

"We're not getting into the details of what goes where and where the playing fields will be," Superintendent Jason McCandless said.

The following public workshop, eyed for July 14, will include some ballpark figures on costs and the consultants will provide their recommendation on which option to choose, and why. The public can then weigh in on that recommendation, before the School Building Needs Commission ultimately decides.

"Given that we are looking at mid-July, the first decision that gets made is what family of options," McCandless said of that decision, which is simply deciding to renovate, build new or a mixture.

After making that decision, the MSBA will need to cast its approval at the September board of directors meeting before the city moves onto the next level of design detail.

Particularly throughout this process, commission member Kathleen Amuso says she want to make sure the parents of elementary school parents are involved because "those are families are going to be really affected by this."

She is advocating for the outreach subcommittee to go to the parent-teacher organizations and the elementary school principals to spread the word about the workshops.

"I think we can ask the full school building needs commission to reach out and ask people," she added, saying that if each member got five others to attend the crowd would number 100.


Tags: school building committee,   school project,   Taconic High,   

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