Update: On Tuesday, the school district's architect sent an email clarifying that the project is submitting to the USBGC for 64 points.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School building project officials are confident that the new middle-high school is on track to receive the sustainable construction designation it needs in order to receive more financing from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
On Thursday, the School Committee sat as the School Building Committee — a designation it took on this summer, along with a few members of the former School Building Committee, as the $64 million addition/renovation project moves into the closeout phase.
Owner's project manager Trip Elmore told the panel that on Friday, documents would be submitted to the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program.
Elmore said that the project needs to score between 50 and 59 points on the USGBC's scale in order to achieve LEED Silver designation. With that designation comes an additional 2 percent to MSBA's contribution to the project — lowering the impact to taxpayers in Lanesborough and Williamstown.
"Right now, we're projecting we're going to get 57 64 points," Elmore said. "We don't know that for a fact. [USGBC] has to agree with us. But we believe our consultant has given us good advice.
"You always want to go into this process with a margin of error, and we have 57 64 points projected."
Superintendent Kimberley Grady told the School Building Committee that the LEED certification process required documentation from the district office and construction manager Turner Construction along with project architect Perkins Eastman.
Elmore said that a decision from USGBC usually takes two to three months.
"That would be the final element we would need to get into the [MSBA] audit stream," he said. "The audit can take six to eight months with MSBA."
So it could be up to a year before the state building authority is ready to close the books on the school, where classes began in September 2018.
In the meantime, the district continues to pay remaining bills for the project that broke ground in 2016.
On Thursday, the School Building Committee was told that the project continues to track to its original budget with a projected surplus of between $10,000 and $100,000.
"Every dollar has a home and a purpose right now," said Hugh Daley, a member of the original SBC and its finance subcommittee who was carried over when the building committee merged with the School Committee. "The $10,000 to $100,000 — I would say wait for us to come to you and said, 'We have $25 grand left.' Until we say that, assume we're going right to the wall on this."
School Committee member Al Terranova emphasized that any amount that the building comes in "under budget" does not bring about a "refund" to taxpayers. Rather, it leads to a slight decrease in the final amount borrowed to pay for the project voters in both towns approved in winter 2016.
In other building project news on Thursday, Alec Marshall of Turner Construction updated the committee on the work that was done over the summer — much of it correcting issues that fell under the project's warranty, including the replacement of carpet, masonry work and landscaping.
The summer also saw the correction of perhaps the most visible flaw at the new Mount Greylock.
"The front entry sidewalk … there was quite a bit of heaving," Marshall said. "So we installed underdrainage and an area drain that ties into the site drainage."
School opened for classes just after Labor Day without the yellow caution tape that adorned the front entry way most of last year.
Grady used Thursday's meeting as an opportunity to thank a number of local businesses who helped the district pull off the repairs it needed to make during the summer break, including Haddad's Rug Co., of Pittsfield and Kapiloff's Glass of Adams.
"Connors Bros. Moving [of Williamstown] sent their team in and took these rooms apart so we could quickly redo the rugs," Grady said. "They learned the Dewey Decimal System in putting the library back together.
"We've had a lot of support from local community members who have come in at the 11th hour."
Daley used Thursday's meeting to ask his colleagues on the School Committee to ensure continued support for the new Mount Greylock by putting forward budgets that will help keep the building like new.
"Remember the previous school didn't get to its previous state in one year," Daley said. "It's a series of years of deferred maintenance. To the degree you take the long term health of the building into consideration, it will be much appreciated by the communities. Let's try to keep in front of the maintenance curve."
School Committee Chair Regina DiLego agreed.
"That's an important point," she said. "In both elementary schools, we've been trying to do that, and it's at the forefront of our conversations."
One such conversation occurred later in Thursday's meeting — after the School Building Committee adjourned.
Mount Greylock Regional School District Director of Buildings and Grounds Tim Sears presented an update on projects completed this summer at Lanesborough Elementary School and Williamstown Elementary.
At the former, that included the installation of two new bottle filling stations, refinishing the gym floor, installation of new fencing to screen the dumpsters and the arrival of a 40-foot storage container to alleviate storage concerns.
The school also got a new water heater.
"We need to thank the town [of Lanesborough] for that," Grady said. "We were able to get it under a green grant that [Kelli Robbins], the town manager applied for."
"This one is quiet and energy efficient," Sears said of the water heater. "And we put in a new pump to get water to the far end of the school."
Both elementary schools benefited this spring of labor provided by the Berkshire County sheriff's office, whose inmates did interior painting projects at both schools.
WES also cleaned out its main office and installed new carpets and addressed the sidewalks in front of the school on Church Street, Sears said.
Williamstown Principal Joelle Brookner also thanked Sears for accomplishing a long-term objective: installing outdoor chess tables at the school. WES acquired the tables three years ago with part of the proceeds of a $10,000 prize from Price Chopper that was won by former secretary Bernadette Archibald in 2014.
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Williamstown Historical Museum Hosts 'Baseball in the Berkshires' Exhibit
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
An image of Ulysses Franklin 'Frank' Grant looks down on the Baseball in the Berkshires exhibit. The Hall of Famer was celebrated with a plaque in his hometown of Williamstown in 2006. Right, 2006 sports page from the former North Adams Transcript celebrates Grant's legacy and the connection between the Clark Art Institute and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The event included Williams alum and former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Baseball in the Berkshires roadshow rolls into Williamstown starting Saturday with a summer exhibit exploring the town's impact on America's pastime and vice versa.
Now in its seventh year, Baseball in the Berkshires has established itself as a repository for facts and artifacts that shine a bright light on the region's baseball roots.
Since its beginnings in the barn at Herman Melville's Arrowhead in Pittsfield, the exhibit has called Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, North Adams, Stockbridge and Dalton home.
This summer, it plans high-profile public displays of baseball imagery in North Adams and Pittsfield along with a summer "residency" at the Williamstown Historical Museum that opens to the public on Saturday morning.
Babcock is in Williamstown this month removing a 19th-century barn from a property on Green River Road (Route 43). In the not-too-distant future, he will be back in town putting the same barn back together on the property of the Williamstown Historical Museum.
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The Select Board last summer created what became the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee as an advisory panel. Members of that panel this week questioned why the Select Board has not appeared willing to consider the advice the DIRE Committee has provided.
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As it nears the end of its inaugural year and faces the first departure of a founding member, the town's diversity committee Monday reflected on the importance of the discussions it has had and the perspectives it has centered in the town's conversation. click for more