The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Thursday decided to move forward with needed improvements to the middle-high schools athletic fields, but it removed both a synthetic turf field and track from the project that will go out to bid this winter.
On a vote of 4-3, the committee decided to pay architect Perkins Eastman $44,000 to develop design documents that will allow the district to put the project out to bid this winter with the possibility of having a synthetic turf field in place as early as fall 2021.
The newest members of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week got a crash course in the arguments for and against building an artificial turf playing field at the middle-high school.
On Tuesday evening, they have another chance to decide whether to move forward or again press the pause button.
The 5 p.m. session will provide an opportunity for one hour of comments from community members who sign up in advance. At 7 p.m., the committee will hear two 15-minute presentations one for a synthetic field and one against followed by 30 minutes for School Committee members to ask questions of the invited presenters.
But Business Manager Joe Bergeron informed the committee that despite his best efforts to prod the Boston firm, it sent its proposal to the district just after 2 p.m. on Monday, and the committee agreed it did not have enough time to review the proposal for $44,000.
With a majority of the School Committee members being replaced in November which makes me wonder why the current committee is pushing for a decision now I'm looking forward to open, reasoned and responsible dialogue and approach to decision-making in the future.
On a vote of 4-2, the committee agreed to spend the next week reviewing a year-old list of value engineering items associated with its athletic fields project and to vote as soon as next Thursday to pay its architect to do the detailed design work needed to rebid a project that already came in over budget in the fall of 2019.
The finance subcommittee of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week discussed abandoning plans to recommend the full committee appoint an advisory panel to answer questions the elected officials had about a proposal to build an artificial turf field at the middle-high school.
More than three years, countless hours by several committees and thousands of dollars worth of professional planning have been spent developing plans to apply the proceeds of the gift, given in early 2016 to help the district pay for things not covered under the Massachusetts School Building Authority's building program.
Hugh Daley asked his colleagues to make such a statement, arguing that the board had an obligation to do what it can to preserve a fund intended to protect local taxpayers against future expenses at the recently renovated and rebuilt school.
Without taking a vote on the matter at its regular monthly meeting, it was clear from the comments that four members of the seven-person committee do not believe concerns about the value of the remainder of a $5 million capital gift from Williams College are enough to hold off on the field decision.
Much but not all of the opposition to date has centered on the potential adverse impact to the environment and students' health.
The Fin Comm discussion did not touch on those arguments, instead sticking to reasons the field may or may not make sense from a financial standpoint.
Mount Greylock's director of academic technology reported on results of a survey to gauge support for revising the school calendar to consolidate the February and April vacation weeks into a single week off in March.
Although the idea of an artificial turf field is not particularly new for the district, it has generated widespread interest in the community in the months since the School Committee authorized the initial RFP in the spring.
By a vote of 6-1, the committee rejected the low bid submitted for an athletic fields project after the price tag came in far higher than the committee expected when it authorized a request for proposals in May.
Williams College President Maud S. Mandel was in front of the Select Board on Monday to discuss the school's strategic planning process, which includes soliciting input from a broadly defined group of stakeholders that includes students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community Williams calls home.
The town is considering buying a new gravel bed on Ore Bed Road.
Town officials have been in talks with Dennis Condron about purchasing a piece of property across from the town's landfill. Selectman Henry "Hank" Sayers said the property has about 50,000 yards of gravel in the lot while the town's current landfill is nearly empty.
The Mount Greylock School Committee Thursday considered questions that have been raised about a plan to install an artificial turf field at the middle-high school including concerns raised by members of the committee itself.
But one committee member and strong advocate for maintaining the course agreed upon earlier this spring said the time for asking questions is over.