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, Mass. — The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee on Monday discussed a statement of principles to guide the group's work as it seeks to work for justice in the college town of 7,700.
Among those principles: a recognition of the current injustice.
"We are beginning from the assumption that, like every other community in the U.S., our town and its residents are impacted by racism," the fourth paragraph of a seven-paragraph draft document reads. "Our work is to discover if our town's institutions and rules (policies, laws and regulations) deliberately or inadvertently encode such inequalities. Our goal is not to assess blame, but to seek accountability where appropriate and change where needed."
Committee members Aruna D'Souza and Kerri Nicoll developed the draft. And although there was no formal vote to adopt the language on Monday, there appeared to be general agreement that the pair had captured the spirit of the committee.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee on Monday discussed a statement of principles to guide the group's work as it seeks to work for justice in the college town of 7,700. click for more
When Williamstown Elementary School began the school year with remote instruction last week, the youth center was able to host 20 kids who attended their Zoom-based classes under the watchful eye of WYC staff.
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Continuing a pressure campaign against local school districts that began over the summer, the commissioner of education this week sent multiple districts a letter requesting "further information" of those who are beginning the school year with remote instruction. click for more
Chief Craig Pedercini reported to the Prudential Committee that the district received one bid for the truck, and it accepted the proposal from New England Fire Equipment and Apparatus for a purchase price of $366,987. click for more
Chief Craig Pedercini on Wednesday reported to the Prudential Committee that the district received one bid for the truck, and it accepted the proposal from New England Fire Equipment and Apparatus for a purchase price of $366,987, just a hair under the price tag that district voters approved in... click for more