McCann Gets $600K Grant for Practical Nursing Expansion

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School has received a $600,000 state grant to expand its practical nursing program.


Superintendent James Brosnan announced the grant at Thursday's School Committee meeting. The funds, which become available starting July 1, come after the school received a $3,110,000 grant to construct a 5,580 square-foot HVAC facility in December


"Great news for us that we were awarded [this]," Brosnan said. "Actually, we were the only vocational school that was awarded a grant for expanding, so we're really thrilled about that." 


Some $350,000 of the grant funds will go toward new training simulators, and $250,000 to new faculty. Brosnan noted that the state is struggling with staffing for registered nurses, and grant funds were available for such an expansion to be possible. 


"They were putting investment monies in, and I said, you know, just because we got one doesn't mean we can't get something else in," he said. 


The new simulators, Brosnan said, will be put in McCann's space at the Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus. He said they should be a significant upgrade over the aging simulators used currently. 


"Ours are 10, 12 years old, the science of them is just long gone. The software doesn't work; they don't work," Brosnan said. 


The new faculty position will be funded by the grant for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The new instructor will allow the program to take on more students. 


"If you're going to expand your student body, the biggest problem you have is finding the instructor. So now that the funding is there, we can do that for two years," Brosnan said. 


Brosnan also updated on the school's planned parking expansions, which he said is currently in the design phase. He said once designs are completed, the project can go out to bid. 


"We expect that to be shovel ready, good to go and start construction at the very end of June to finish those parking lots before school opens," he said. 


In other business: 


  • The committee voted on school choice for the district, voting to reject it, as it has the previous 28 years. 


  • Principal Justin Kratz gave an update on progress with the school year. He said every student was placed in one of their top three shops, with 95 percent getting placed in their top two choices. 


"I've never seen that happen. So I was pretty excited that we were able to get the kids into placements that are pretty favorable," he said. 


Kratz also said this was the first year in several when they were able to hold in-person awards for Skills USA.

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North Adams Commission Passes on River Street Parking Ban

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Traffic Commission is holding off on any changes to parking along River Street near the Corner Store. 
The commission had received a letter from resident Nancy Bullett and several phone calls from residents about congestion specifically between Holden and North Holden streets caused by cars parked along River Street.
"The way the cars were parked right up to the corner and with the high, like the SUVs, and that [drivers turning out of  North Holden] really couldn't see oncoming traffic," Chair MaryAnn King told the commission on March 8. "You had to like almost pull out halfway in the road to turn before you can see oncoming traffic."
She said she didn't want to hurt any businesses by prohibiting parking along the north side and so had spoken with the police. The result was the Highway Department installed new signs for "no parking here to corner" on both sides of the street to remind motorists that parking within 20 feet of an intersection is prohibited. 
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