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Mount Greylock School Committee OKs Selection Process for Field Designer
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:41PM / Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee last week moved a step closer to hiring a designer to make plans for a new athletic field and track on the Cold Spring Road campus.
The district has been discussing the project in various iterations since shortly after it began moving forward with an addition/renovation project at the middle/high school that concluded in 2018.
The current plan is to be able to build a new natural grass multisport playing field, ringed by a running track, using proceeds from a $5 million capital gift from Williams College.
On Thursday, the School Committee appointed a five-person designer selection committee to review responses later this month to a request for proposals that the district issued to find an architect.
Superintendent Jason McCandless, Business Administrator Joe Bergeron, Director of Operations and Technology Rob Wnuk, School Committee member Carolyn Greene and health and wellness teacher and track coach Brian Gill will be tasked with interviewing finalists for the contract and possibly making a final selection on July 27.
To expedite the process, the committee's Finance Subcommittee recommended that the selection committee be authorized to make a final selection of an architect if there is agreement among at least two-thirds of its members, or a "super majority" of four members, if all five participate in the vote.
If the committee cannot choose a finalist by more than a simple majority decision, it would send the question to the full School Committee to make a decision.
The Finance Subcommittee had hoped to include Mount Greylock's athletic director on the selection panel, but Lindsey von Holtz will be out of town next Wednesday and unavailable to interview the finalists.
Throughout the various stages of a process that previously looked at building an artificial turf field at the school, von Holtz has contributed to various committees and working groups on the topic.
"Lindsey is very comfortable moving forward," McCandless told the School Committee. "We still have a five-member committee. We have Brian [Gill] representing the athletic community and the physical education and wellness staff here in the school district. We also have [owners project manager] Skanska helping us sort through what we learn from interviews and bringing their experience in working with all or most of these design firms.
"Of course, she wishes she was in a position to do this, but she totally understands our timing."
Responses to the district's RFP are due on Thursday, July 21. Von Holtz, if available, will help review the responses come up with a list of up to three finalists to be interviewed by the selection committee next week, according to the process approved by the School Committee at its July 14 meeting.
In other business at that meeting, McCandless informed the School Committee that the district is re-advertising for the newly created position of Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.
"We have recently informed the applicants that we are reposting this and re-advertising this and casting what we hope is a wider net, simply to get more candidates and more diverse candidates – diverse in many ways, including geographically diverse," McCandless said.
The superintendent acknowledged that he had hoped to have the new administrator on board in time for the start of the 2022-23 academic year. But that might not happen.
"It's always difficult in the school world because you envision someone joining you on July 1, and then you envision someone joining you in time for school to start, and that's not how this process has worked out," McCandless said. "And we are very committed to running the best process we can, getting the best applicant pool we can and choosing the best individual to serve this role that we can.
"The timing, to some degree, has to come second place to those aims."
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