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MSBA Invites Greylock School Into Eligibility Phase for Renovations

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Greylock Elementary School has made it into the eligibility phase to look into renovating or replacing the 60-year-old building.  
 
The Massachusetts School Building Authority Board of Directors voted at its meeting on Wednesday to invite the North Adams Public Schools into the first step of the school building process.
 
"The board has voted the Greylock Elementary School into the eligibility period," said Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chairman of the MSBA. "The MSBA will work collaboratively with local officials to ensure the best outcome for the district's students."
 
Greylock School has not had any significant renovations since an addition in the mid-1960s while Drury High, Brayton Elementary and the former Conte schools have been renovated or rebuilt over the past 25 years. 
 
A statement of interest, or SOI, was submitted in 2017, the first time an SOI had been submitted since 2010, when the school was included in a study related to the closure of Conte Middle School. At the time, the city had sought a "two-school" solution by renovating both Conte and Greylock, but the MSBA opted for only renovating Conte. The $30 million Colegrove Park Elementary School opened in 2016.
 
The City Council and School Committee authorized the submission of an SOI again in 2018 and a more detailed and extensive statement was submitted earlier this year. 
 
The 59,000-square-foot school has been next on the priority list for nearly a decade now and its problems have grown worse. It was built in 1953 with an addition in 1965. The roof was replaced in 2003 but many other items are original or more than 20 years old, with the exception of the HVAC system that was upgraded in 2013. The building is not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and its exterior masonry walls are cracked and uninsulated. 
 
Even though the roof was addressed to some extent, water is making its way into the building in several areas. In the 1953 section, the water issues are evident along the metal trusses where the old glass block style windows meet. Buckets have to be put out when it rains. 
 
If the School Committee accepts the invitation into the eligibility period it will have 270 days to work with the MSBA to determine the city's financial and community readiness to move on to design and funding. That will include convening a new School Building Committee. 
 
It will, however, have to take into account enrollment for the project to move forward. A recent study of school facilities and population is pointing to a distinctly downward trend in line with the rest of the Berkshires. 
 
After meeting eligibility requirements, the city could be invited into the feasibility study phase, subject to a vote of the MSBA board.
 
"The eligibility period is a critical step in the MSBA's process of evaluating potential work on the Greylock Elementary School," stated Executive Director Jack McCarthy. "We look forward to our continued partnership with the district as it enters the eligibility period."
 
Since its 2004 inception, the MSBA says it has made more than 1,750 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due diligence process and has made over $14.1 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects.

Tags: Greylock School,   MSBA,   

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Berkshire Food Project Recognizes Hours Put in by Volunteers

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Three generations of volunteers with Linda Palumbo, left, Cindy Bolte, Alicia Rondeau and Cassandra Shoestack.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five days a week a troop volunteers helps the small staff of the Berkshire Food Project feed hundreds of people. 
 
On Monday night, the tables were turned. 
 
More than 30 volunteers and attending family members were served up a choice of beef wellington and potato, salmon and rice, or a vegetarian meal, along with appetizers, dessert and beverages.
 
"Just from 2018 to 2019, [we served] 10,000 more meals, right, a 28 percent increase in 2019. So the numbers on the stove, same amount of counterspace. The only thing that changed is the capacity of our volunteers. So thank you, guys," said Executive Director Kim McMann. 
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