MSBA Board Shifts Greylock School Project into Funding Phase

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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 NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The $65 million Greylock Elementary School project has moved another step forward with the Massachusetts School Building Authority's vote to enter into a funding agreement.
 
The MSBA Board of Directors, meeting remotely on Wednesday morning, unanimously authorized the executive director to enter into budget and funding agreements for facilities grants totaling $177,280,778 for North Adams, Agawam and Berkley.
 
The estimated cost for a new Greylock School is $65,362,859 with a maximum grant estimated at $41,557,218. This final figure was voted by the School Building Committee last week. 
 
This agreement is dependent on the local authorization of borrowing within the next 120 days. 
 
"We are very excited to have this opportunity for the city of North Adams but especially for our greatest greatest asset of our future — our students," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey. "As we develop this project, we wanted to be sure that we were true to our educational vision, the facility itself and that both would suit our educational needs for the next 30 years and beyond. We are confident that that project does that and then some. ...
 
"We have really tried to be thoughtful in our design as we launch not only for a successful path with MSBA but as successful paths for the educational value of the city of North Adams. Again, our focus has been staying true to our educational vision, but also to produce a project that is financially feasible to our community."
 
Key to the approval was the School Building Committee's vote last week to include a geothermal system into the scope of design. The system estimated at $2.7 million had been discussed previously; some committee members questioned the cost, the lifespan and ability for it to be maintained in the future.
 
The MSBA's Facilities Assessment Subcommittee last month had pushed for its inclusion.
 
"I specifically took to heart the comments of [committee member] Terry [Kwan] at our last FAS meeting," said Macksey. "We're pleased to say that we've added geothermal back to our project. We thank the FAS for guiding us to rethink this important aspect."
 
The mayor was joined in the meeting by Superintendent Barbara Malkas, Business Administrator Nancy Rausch and School Building Committee member Richard Alcombright, former mayor, as well as representatives from the owner's project manager Colliers International and TSKP Design Studio. No one else spoke and no questions were asked by the board. 
 
Last week, the mayor said what had changed her mindset on geothermal was "that the industry itself is going to be looking for these energy-efficient economic or environmentally friendly buildings. And if we don't do it now, we may be made to do in the future and have to pay for it ourselves."
 
The school district will be looking to the federal Inflation Reduction Act to pick up the bulk of the cost. It is partnering with nonprofit Undaunted K12, which works with schools to find opportunities to respond to climate change and develop sustainable energy practices. 
 
Malkas said Undaunted K12 is "very, very well versed in the process" and will provide technical assistance to the district as it navigates the application process for IRA funding. 
 
"I feel that we are, in fact, a very good candidate," she said last week. "And that just monitoring the timing of the submission, ultimately, I think that we will get a much better project and, at this point, the reimbursement will be sufficient that it will be cost neutral for the local community."
 
Alcombright said he was supportive of the geothermal option and that when they go to sell the project to the voters, "it's just not worth anyone's time or effort to try to downsell what our kids deserve in this community and what our district deserves."
 
The district is seeking to replace the outdated 60-year-old Greylock School which was closed this year as the district implemented its new prekindergarten to Grade 2 and Grade 3 to 6 grade configuration at Colegrove Park and Brayton elementary schools. Brayton is slated to close once the new Greylock opens to host the district's early education program.
 
 

Tags: brayton/greylock project,   MSBA,   

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MCLA's Gallery 51: 'Mothering in Migration'

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— MCLA's MOSAIC announces the upcoming exhibition "Mothering in Migration" and opening reception at Gallery 51.
 
"Mothering in Migration" will be on view from July 26 to August 25 at Gallery 51 with an opening reception on July 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring light snacks and refreshments. A reception will also be held during North Adams' First Friday event on August 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring catering, refreshments, and live music from Yo Soy Arte.
 
"Mothering in Migration" is part of an ongoing collaboration between artist Luiza Folegatti and Latinas413 that aims to strengthen local support for immigrant mothers while using image-making as a tool for community building. Through photography sessions, interviews, and workshops, the families and the artist celebrated their connection to the natural landscape of the Berkshires, the networks of mutual support between friends and colleagues, and the intimacy of the mother-daughter relationship.
 
The show is curated by Carolina Porras-Monroy.
 
According to a press release: 
 
Luiza Folegatti is a Brazilian artist based in North Adams who integrates artistic practice, teaching, and social advocacy work around the rights of women immigrants. Her work focuses on gender and migration through photography, video,  performance, and visual anthropology methods. Folegatti strongly believes in the positive impact generated by projects that combine photography, education, and community building. She has taught photography workshops for several years at nonprofits working with immigrants and is currently a visiting faculty member in photography at Bennington College, part-time residency coordinator at MASS MoCA, and Artists At Work grantee. 
 
To learn more about Latinas413 visit https://www.latinas413.org/.
 
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