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."
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.
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There's a winter weather advisory in effect overnight Friday in the Berkshires and a chance of up to 5 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., issued the advisory effective from midnight to 10 a.m. on Saturday with warnings of slippery roads in the morning.
The snowfall could reach up to an inch an hour for a brief period in the morning and will be accompanied by winds up to 40 mph. There's also a chance of sleet and freezing rain in the mix.
Temperatures could reach a high of 40 in the Hudson River valley on Saturday and Sunday will be windy, with some gusts possibly reaching 35-45 mph across eastern New York and the Berkshires. High temperatures Sunday ranging from the mid-20s/lower 30s for higher terrain, to the mid 30s to around 40 for valley areas. Lows Sunday night in the teens and 20s. Monday will be similar.