While demolition goes on outside, work continues on the interior as the $65 million school is being readied to open for classes in September.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The "cold corridor" is a memory, and soon the rest of the former academic spaces at Mount Greylock Regional School will follow in its wake.
Demolition is well underway at the Cold Spring Road campus, where Holyoke's American Environmental has taken the lead on tearing down the two classroom wings that have been replaced by a three-story addition as part of the school district's $64 million building project.
On Thursday, Superintendent Kimberley Grady and Turner Construction's Mike Giso led a media tour to look at the work in progress, focusing on both the demo to the south and east of the new school's central core and the nearly move-in ready classrooms in the addition.
About 50 percent of the interior of the 1950s- and '60s-era classroom wings has been abated and is ready to be torn down, Giso said.
"The middle school wing is pretty much done on the inside as far as abatement," he said. "By the end of September or early October, the building will be down."
As American Environmental's Eric Bearce tore down parts of the building with a backhoe, Giso explained that although demolition will continue well into the start of the school year that begins Sept. 6, dust-control measures will be in place to make sure that campus is safe for students inside and outside the school.
And as Bearce ripped through brick and twisted metal, a mister sprayed his work area and maintained a comfortable environment for the observers just a stone's throw away.
Grady pointed out that Smith and Wessel Associates of Spencer, the district's environmental monitor, is on site regularly ensuring that construction activities do not present a hazard.
A busy site it was on the mid-July morning as crews continued paving in the parking lot, cleaning out the old classroom wing, tiling the cafeteria floor, installing a ceiling in the entrance foyer and myriad other tasks.
Both Giso and Grady emphasized that the project remains on track. Giso said that the demolition is on schedule if not a little ahead of schedule and that American has not had any of the manpower issues that have hampered the project at other stages.
"As of right now, [owner's project manager] Dore and Whittier and Turner are indicating that we are on schedule to move in on time to open school on Sept. 6," Mount Greylock Transition Committee Chairman Joe Bergeron told his colleagues at their meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Grady told the Transition Committee — the district's de facto school committee until a new slate is elected in November — that the district is looking at dates with the Massachusetts School Building Authority for a celebratory ribbon cutting in October.
"When you start talking about ribbon cutting, you know you're close to the end," Grady said.
On Thursday, Grady said the district is anticipating securing a temporary certificate of occupancy for the new school in mid-August.
It is common for a project like the new Mount Greylock to open with a temporary certificate and obtain the full certificate of occupancy after finishing touches and landscaping are completed, Grady told the Transition Committee.
She said Thursday she is waiting to schedule the walk-through for a TCO with the town's building inspector until the district receives the furnishings it needs for the school's new media center. The building inspector will want to see the shelving and other library furnishings in place before he can do his inspection.
The media center looks to be one of the last academic spaces to be wrapped up. Giso said Thursday that the three-story academic wing is "98 percent" complete from a construction standpoint.
Once a certificate is in hand and the parking lot is complete, in late August, the school will welcome back teachers to begin setting up their classrooms, Grady said. At the moment, all the classroom materials that teachers boxed up in the spring are sitting in the school's gymnasium.
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Nine Williams College Seniors Win Fellowships to Study at Cambridge and Oxford
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has announced the winners of the Dr. Herchel Smith Fellowship for graduate study at Cambridge University’s Emmanuel College, the Martin-Wilson Fellowship for graduate study at Worcester College at Oxford University, and the Donovan-Moody Fellowship for graduate study at Exeter College at Oxford University.
The seven seniors awarded the Herchel Smith Fellowship are Tania Calle, Nicholas Goldrosen, Grace Kromm, Jake Rinaldi, Crispin Jay (CJ) Salapare, Suiyi Tang and Meklit Tesfaye. Joseph Moore was awarded the Martin-Wilson Fellowship, and Emmie Hine was awarded the Donovan-Moody Fellowship.
Calle, a political science major from Corona, Queens, N.Y., plans to pursue an M.Phil. in public health and public policy. Aiming to further her understanding of the social and ecological framework of health while also building her epidemiological, statistical, and ethnographic skill set, she intends to study the relationship between the adoption of restrictive immigration policy measures and immigrant communities’ wellbeing. At Williams, she was the chair of Vista, the Latinx student organization, and the Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement. She also participated in College Council, was a member of the Berkshire Doula Project, and was a dancer/choreographer for Ritmo Latino. In 2019, she was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.
Goldrosen, a mathematics and political science major from Brooklyn, N.Y., will pursue an M.Phil. in criminological research. He is particularly interested in researching the effectiveness of police oversight organizations at improving public perceptions of law enforcement via procedural justice. At Williams, he was active with the student newspaper and served as editor in a variety of capacities, including editor-in-chief. He also was co-president of the Junior Advisor Advisory Board and student chair of the Honor and Discipline Committee. As the recipient of two summer research fellowships, he examined the administration of justice in county courthouses across the United States, as well as privately-run juvenile alternative sentencing programs in Berkshire County.
Hine, a Chinese and computer science major from Chicago, Ill., plans to complete an M.Sc. in social sciences of the internet. With an interest in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) governance, she studied at the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford during her junior year, where she conducted research at the university’s Centre for the Governance of AI. At Williams, she served on the Computer Science Student Advisory Committee and was a Chinese teaching assistant. In summer 2017, she attended the Harvard Beijing Academy, and she has completed internships in cybersecurity and information technology at Chicago-based companies Braintree and Beam Suntory, respectively.
Kromm, a chemistry and psychology major from Winchester, Mass., will pursue a Ph.D. in clinical neurosciences. With an interest in studying the relationship between sleep architecture, functional brain connectivity, and neurodevelopmental outcomes in vulnerable infants, she aims to study under the direction of neonatologist Topun Austin, co-director of neoLAB, a collaboration between the Cambridge Centre for Perinatal Neuroscience and the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory at University College London. At Williams, she was a peer tutor, lab teaching assistant, and research assistant in the chemistry department. She is currently a neuroscience thesis student in the Carter Lab, where she studies mouse feeding behavior using optogenetics.
Moore, a comparative literature major from Kunkletown, Pa., plans to pursue an M.Sc. in social anthropology, and then an M.St. in comparative literature and critical translation. Expanding on his senior thesis at Williams, which examines how the work of Jean Genet and Roberto Bolaño use comparison to frame global political issues, he aims to research the way in which many international political discourses, like that of human rights, take shape through different kinds of implicit and explicit comparison across national contexts. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he has also written creative pieces for Adbusters as well as political articles and op-eds for Jacobin Magazine, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Williams Record.
The current question is whether the School Committee will continue to preserve a portion of the Williams capital gift for future extraordinary maintenance needs, like a new boiler or a new roof.
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The Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Chesterwood, Hancock Shaker Village, Naumkeag Public Garden and Historic Home, The Mount and Tanglewood will follow in the path of Williamstown's Clark Art Institute, which offers 140 acres of lawns, meadows and walking trails that have been open to... click for more