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The School Building Committee hopes to have some preliminary options by December.

Clarksburg Brings on Jones Whitsett for School Study

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The School Building Committee has hired Jones Whitsett Architects Inc. to do the feasibility for a new or renovated school.

The committee's first choice easily passed muster with the Massachusetts School Building Authority at its last meeting.  

"We all agreed on Jones Whitsett to be our architect," Superintendent Jonathan Lev said on Thursday.

Lev had gone to Boston two weeks ago with School Committee and Select Board Chairman Jeffrey Levanos and Laura Wood, another member of the School Building Committee. They had expected there might be another meeting and more interviews but were pleased to find the MSBA was fully on board.

"They aproved it with no further questions," Levanos said. "Jon thought we would have had to go back but everyone agreed that Margo Jones was the best for us."

Jones did an initial feasibility study for the school a decade ago as Margo Jones Architects. Her firm also did the design for Williamstown Elementary School and most recently the $30 million Colegrove Park Elementary School in North Adams.

Potomac Capital Advisors was hired a couple months ago as owner's project manager. The town approved funding of up to $250,000 for the feasibility study that will review options for the 60-year-old and its not much younger additions. The Grades K-8 school has a number of space and structural issues, as well as being outdated in equipment. The study will also look at the addition of a preschool, which the town has agreed should be included.

The target construction cost is between $8 million to $10 million, with a full project cost of up to $12 million. The MSBA has set a reimbursement rate for eligible costs of 62 percent, including for the feasibility study.

The hope is to have a special town meeting by May to vote on borrowing and the opening of the school by fall 2019.

First, the School Building Committee will have to have plans ready to chose from with feedback from residents this winter.

"We're still on track to have some different things to look at by the end of the December," said Lev.

Tags: Clarksburg school project,   MSBA,   

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Debate Over Solar Carports Heats Up in Clarksburg

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Planners Erin Scott, Gregory Vigna, Vincent King and Karin Robert look over the plans for the solar carports. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Planning Board says the structures at the former country club are ground-mounted solar arrays; the developer says they are carports with solar-panel roofs. 
The debate over the definition of the structures — and whether there was a permit issued for their construction — lead to heated exchanges between town officials and the owner at last week's Planning Board meeting. 
"They're solar arrays masquerading as carports," said Planning Board member Karin Robert.
The three structures were installed by BVD Solar, a solar development company owned by Todd Driscoll, who also owns the golf course. Driscoll pointed out several times during the evening that he does not own structures but builds them for solar companies. 
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