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Mount Greylock School Committee OKs Additional 90K for Storage Building
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:00AM / Friday, November 19, 2021
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee unanimously authorized using  up to $90,000 more of Williams College's capital gift funds for a storage building at the middle/high school.
The structure was originally intended to cost just $90,000 but bids were coming in significantly higher and Business Administrator Joe Bergeron had to ask the panel for doubled funding on Thursday.
"It is a nightmare scenario for me coming to you and asking for an additional $90,000 from the capital gift because I know how sensitive that topic is," he explained.
"But we also do not have good pockets of money to be able to tap into for work like this, largely because it is not a purely educational endeavor, we don't have grants available for it, and it's not the type of thing that just tucks into a budget that we already have approved within expectations that we already had."
The building will provide storage for the school and its sports teams as well as offer shelter for athletes during inclement weather.
Originally, the intent was to build a multipurpose building that would include administration, storage, and public restrooms. In the spring, the district began planning for the second building.
"We gained authorization to build the second building largely because we realized that the first building, there was no way that it was going to serve the dual purpose, or the triple purpose of in-season athletic storage and shelter," Bergeron explained.
"Athletes need to get out of the rain quickly or out of inclement weather quickly, Nordic ski waxing and storage during their season, as well as facilities storage and a place to be able to maintain and keep the equipment."
Purchasing the steel structure went smoothly but it was delayed because of increased demand. The district ran into issues when it came to getting contractors for the work, as the prices just get higher and higher, he said.  
Though Bergeron said he was not looking forward to approaching the School Committee for double the amount, the panel was understanding and unanimously voted in favor of the allocation.
In 2016, Williams College gave the district a $5 million gift to help pay for things not covered under the Massachusetts School Building Authority's building program. The balance of the fund is currently about $4.7 million.
In 2020, the School Committee zeroed in on three potential usages for the funds: field improvements, the administration building (and now the storage building), and the maintenance fund.
Also in this meeting, the committee voted to pursue a design-build process for field improvements at Mount Greylock Regional School. The method uses one entity that works under a single contract with the project owner to carry out the process.
Vice Chair Carrie Greene explained that at the Finance Committee's October meeting, members discussed moving away from the design, bid, and build procurement process required for municipal contracts and moving forward with this method instead.
She explained that the current documents for the project are no longer valid because of the extra building added to the plan. They reached out to the landscape architect to ask for a quote on revising the paperwork and never got a response.
"It's not a relationship that's really working for us," Greene said.
During that time, Bergeron reached out to other firms for an estimate on redoing the documents and the prices were reportedly "astronomical."
Rather than spending the extra money to backtrack their work, the committee saw it fitting to continue with this new route.
School Committee member Ursula Maloy said this makes sense.
"From my perspective, we're at a point where we would have to redo these documents and go spend a lot of money on more studies and more documents and it just doesn't feel like a good use of money at this point," she said.
Member Julia Bowen expressed gratitude to the Finance Committee and Bergeron for finding a more holistic way to handle the process.
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