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Mount Greylock High Weighs Options For Decrepit Classrooms
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:59AM / Friday, April 27, 2012
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The building subcommittee will start researching its options if some sections of the school are unusable.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional High School officials are creating a contingency plan in case sections of the school become unusable.

Building subcommittee members said on Thursday that they will start researching the various options — which could include trailers, mobile classrooms, sending students to other facilities or performing just enough renovations — for the sections of the building that are in the worst condition.

Complicating the planning is that the school is close to triggering compliance with federal American With Disabilities Act regulations — forcing massive and costly renovations that could later be scrapped if the state School Building Authority decides to reimburse the school for a major construction.

School officials said the science labs and auditorium are the main priorities.

"If not accepted into MSBA this year, or even if we do get accepted this year, what do we do about the real trouble spots in the interim?" subcommittee member Carolyn "Carrie" Greene said, adding that students will need the classrooms for a minimum of three more years.

Additionally, school officials said there is a need for asbestos removal and a fire suppression system. The asbestos in tiles and piping are contained and will not cause immediate trouble but the fire suppression system would require extensive work, much of which would not be able to be transferred into a new building.

Subcommittee members said they will set out a three- to four-year plan for asbestos removal and look into installing some of the fire suppression system that could be transferable to a new school.

"We do know about tiles that have a certain percentage of asbestos in the flooring," David Backus, subcommittee member, said. "These are contained things, they are not dangerous things but they do need to be removed."

The science labs have ventilation, electric, gas and water problems that have forced the school to transport the students to Williams College for lab assignments. The subcommittee discussed mixing some minor renovations to make some of the classrooms usable and bringing in mobile trailers.

Backus said estimates for trailers are about $1,500 per student, per year. The subcommittee will get more definite costs and compare it to renovation work to find the best option.

The auditorium is also in need of drastic repair and officials are afraid that the space will no longer be usable in the next few years.

"We're playing with fire by having performances in that auditorium and we all know it," Greene said. "There are spaces where performances can be held for a year or so."

Band director and subcommittee member Lyndon Moors, however, said off-site locations would not be feasible for rehearsals.

"I am not sure how many facilities in the reasonable region that would have us visit for six weeks," he said.

Moving forward, the committee is going to talk to officials from schools that have recently performed renovations, state officials and various contractors for more details. By next month, members hope to have an answer from the state School Building Authority about if they will be reimbursed for any reconstruction.
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