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Town officials are hoping the new HVAC system and adoption of 40R zoning will attract interest in the long-closed school building.

Adams to Release Memorial Building RFP Again

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town will soon release another request for proposals for the Memorial Building and looks toward possible future use during the pandemic.

The Selectmen discussed the dormant former school building Wednesday and agreed that it was time to hold a subcommittee meeting to hash out the future of the former middle school.
 
"Now is probably a good time to put out the RFP again," Selectman John Duval said. "There is still a lot of interest in the building."
 
Multiple RFPs have been released over the years to no avail. Although there were plans to release one in the fall of 2020, the town decided to hold off while the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing.
 
Plans are to use a portion of the building as a community center.
 
The town received Community Block Grant funds to install a new HVAC system in the building. This has been a stumbling block in RFP cycles in the past. 
 
Town Administrator Jay Green said the system has been installed and is awaiting a final inspection.
 
He felt this would improve the chances of a successful RFP.
 
Also, Green felt, the adoption last year of 40R zoning would sweeten the pot and make the project more attractive to potential developers. He noted that he knew many developers were holding off on submitting a proposal while 40R was in limbo awaiting a contentious town meeting vote.
 
The state instituted 40R to incentivize developers to utilize existing structures to create market-value housing along with a certain percentage of affordable housing and commercial space. The statute provides incentives to towns, such as access to capital and a payment to municipalities to acknowledge and ease the impact of increased housing and traffic
 
The Selectmen were curious if the building could be used in some capacity during the pandemic. Chairwoman Christine Hoyt noted there have been a few requests to use the building.
 
"I would like to see that happen," Duval said. 
 
In the past the gymnasium was used by Berkshire Arts & Technology Pubic Charter School and local sports organizations. Because there was not a fully functioning HVAC system, use was compromised and the doors were often left open in the gymnasium to improve air circulation. 
 
Green said, although working, the HVAC system needs a final inspection and to be released by CDBG. Also, the town would have to run a defined use by inspection services. This would also have to be run by code enforcement, which would have to consider COVID-19 precautions.
 
Finally, the building would have to be turned over to the Department of Public Works before use.
 
Duval added that he wanted the Selectmen to draft a new use policy. In the past, Duval noted that there have been issues with some of the building's users.
 
Green added that because of the size of the building he would be hesitant to allow unsupervised use without the town's presence.
 
The Selectmen agreed to hold a meeting on the matter. 
 
Selectman Joseph Nowak asked that using the building as a location for town meeting and town voting also be on the table.
 
Currently the town uses Hoosac Valley Elementary School for town meetings and the DPW garage for voting. 
 
Green also gave his town administrator's report during the meeting and said marijuana cultivator LC Square LLC plans to move forward with its proposed cultivation facility on Howland Avenue at the former Berkshire Outdoors building.
 
Green said LC Square principal Art Babayan's family and partners were affected by COVID-19, which has delayed work.
 
"They have resumed construction and they are going full force," he said.
 
Green said their "aspirational" target date is late summer, and Babayan will keep the town updated.
 
He said they do plan to add manufacturing to their operation that will create more jobs.
 
A community outreach meeting over the Zoom platform is planned Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m.
 
As for the proposed marijuana retail operation, also on Howland Avenue, Green said the developers have been radio silent.
 
The proposed retail facility was to be housed in one of Ronnie's Cycle Shop's two buildings. The developers Mission Massachusetts were last heard from two years ago when they notified the town that they were switching from medical sales to adult sales. 
 
Since then the entity has changed to Mission Adams, but Community Development have been unable to contact the developers.

Tags: marijuana,   memorial building,   

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BART Announces Upcoming Enrollment Deadline

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts and Technology (BART) Charter Public School is currently accepting applications for students in grades 6 - 10 for the 2021-2022 school year.

The next enrollment deadline for the 2021-2022 school year for grades 6 - 10 is Thursday, March 11, 2021, at 12:00 p.m.

More information on the school’s enrollment and lottery process can be found at www.bartcharter.org. Interested families should contact the school at 413-743-7311 ext 732 or enrollment@bartcharter.org. Despite COVID-19 closures, teaching and learning continues at BART and enrollment is moving forward as usual. Please reach out to the Enrollment Team with any questions.

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