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Mount Greylock Transition Committee members Dan Caplinger, Steven Miller, Joseph Bergeron, Al Terranova and Regina DiLego at Wednesday's meeting.

Mount Greylock Board Creates Oversight Panels for Next Phases

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Member Carolyn Greene advocated strongly for a project manager although her fellow committee member Al Terranova was put off by the potential cost. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Transition Committee formalized a phased approach to constructing a multipurpose building and renovating athletic fields on Wednesday and created two subcommittees to oversee the approach.
 
The board had determined to move in that direction at last month's meeting but had held off on approving the $173,600 required for architects Perkins Eastman in Boston to develop planning documents and permitting for the building. 
 
Those funds were also approved at Wednesday's meeting at Williamstown Elementary School but not until after committee member Carolyn Greene asked for a clarification to be made to the last meeting's minutes. Greene, who did not attend the July meeting, said there was a reference to an amendment in the minutes that seemed to indicate the money had been OK'd.
 
Greene also advocated strongly for a project manager to be brought on board before the project got too far along. 
 
"Mount Greylock has done projects without project managers and it doesn't go so well," said the former chairman of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee, who thought one should have been hired already. "I want to absolutely be sure that we have a professional project manager on this project so that we're not going along with the architect without somebody looking out for our interests, which is the role of the project manager."   
 
The transition committee -- the midway panel in the transitioning of Mount Greylock Regional and Williamstown and Lanesborough school districts into one district -- is picking up the charge on developing an administrative building and completion of certain other work on the Mount Greylock Regional School site. 
 
The $65 million high and middle school will open in time for the school year but it has required the central administration for the district to move out and will not include certain field improvements -- neither of which are covered under the Massachusetts School Building Authority. 
 
The plan is to use part of a $5 million gift from Williams College to build a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose building at Mount Greylock that will hold not only central office but can be used for facility and athletic storage, for cross country skis storage and maintenance and public bathrooms for outdoor events. It would also include some parking and accessways.
 
The $2.2 million building would be Phase 1; Phase 2, at $1.3 million, would encompass updating fields to comply with current codes, though the school district would like to add in bleachers and other amenities and another field to allow for rotation. The balance of $1.5 million would be banked with restrictions to limit its use for capital projects. 
 
The phased approach is seen as a way not to limit the construction under one contractor -- and possibly gain donations that include in-kind for the second phase to build out the athletic fields beyond the limited funds available. 
 
Committee member Dan Caplinger said his major concern on phasing the projects was if it would cost more. Chairman Joseph Bergeron said he had been told no, it wouldn't, by the architects.
 
"Their response was no actually because Phase 2 was going to be site work exclusive you're probably going to end up paying less," he said. "We had gotten this overall picture down to $3.8 [million], which is now $3.5 [million]. ...
 
"For $3.8 [million] we could do what you see here in Phase 1 plus all of the ADA compliance, all of the Title IX, which is getting the softball field up to par with the varsity baseball field and having a new grass field ... which has not existed in the past along with refurbishing the fields we already have. ...
 
"What that does not do is bleachers, it does not do lighting for this field, that does not do additional fields so we can introduce additional fields to not abuse individual fields as much as we have the last 60 years, and it does not introduce a track."
 
Member Alan Terranova thought it important to get the superintendent and her staff into a building on campus while providing time to seek further funding for the fields.
 
"I think there's a feeling that we're confident we can come up with another 300,000 bucks," he said. "Not by bake sales but other funding."
 
Member Steven Miller also thought focusing on the fields as a separate issue was a good idea: "I think it's easier to target community members on."
 
The board approved the development of two subcommittees: Phase 1 would have members Bergeron, Greene and Christopher Dodig; Phase 2 would be Bergeron, Terranova and Miller. 
 
Each subcommittee would come back with recommendations for community and professional members with the appropriate skills. The Phase 1 subcommittee was also charged with beginning the process of hiring a project manager. The focus of the Phase 2 subcommittee would be to fill out with more members who could also do outreach in the community. 
 
"It is imperative to have students on the Phase 2 committee," advised Greene.

Tags: central office,   MGRHS school project,   sports fields,   

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