On Tuesday, February 2 and Thursday, February 4, Principal Mary MacDonald and Building Committee member Carrie Greene presented the status of Mt. Greylock’s new building project to the high school and middle school directed studies. MacDonald pursued a transparent policy, informing Mt. Greylock students about the goals, schedule, and parties involved in the building project. The Building Committee partnered with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to design a school that they expect to last 50 years. If Mt.Greylock meets MSBA’s guidelines, the school will pay for 59.8% of the project’s cost. Dore & Whittier, an architecture firm, is acting as the Owner’s Project Manager and Turner Construction will build the school.
The Building Committee has found multiple deficiencies in Mt. Greylock that sparked the new project. The current building school was constructed built in the 1960s, which causes problems today. MacDonald described the school as “inefficient with regard to design, accessibility and energy use.”. The insulation and windows are outdated, which holds in warm air less effectively than newer technology. There are fewer students attending Mt. Greylock today than in the 1960s and the floor layout could be more condensed to fewer rooms, saving maintenance costs. Safety is another big concern for the Building Committee, as the school has no sprinkler system, an old alarm system, and a large floor plan that has numerous entry points that must be maintained. The biggest problem that appealed to MSBA is the number of educational deficiencies of the building. The new building will have up-to-date science labs and a more flexible floor plan, which allows rooms to coalesce for group projects and to support newer technology. The Building Committee hopes the new building will be safe, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, three stories high, and angled to absorb the highest possible sunlight intake to save on heating costs and electricity.
One of the goals of the Building Committee is to be completely transparent to the public, so the community is more comfortable supporting it. After 11 different plans were presented to the Building Committee, the finalized plan is 40% renovation of the old building and 60% new material. The gym, auditorium, and boiler will remain from the old building. The building will be designed so that public spaces, like the cafeteria and auditorium, can be accessed after school without access to the classroom wing. MSBA already approved Mt. Greylock’s building project and the next step in the schedule is for the towns to vote on accepting a tax increase to pay for the school. “I hope that the voters of Williamstown and Lanesborough have a chance to carefully consider the state of the current building, the options vetted by the school community and the financial benefits of partnering with the Massachusetts School Building Authority as they go to the polls,” MacDonald said.