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Mount Greylock Track and Field Bids Come in on Target
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:10AM / Thursday, November 02, 2023
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The Mount Greylock Field and Track Project Committee meets on Wednesday at the middle-high school.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee could vote as early as Thursday evening to award a construction contract for a new multi-sport field and eight-lane track at the middle-high school.
And if all goes according to plan, work on the project could begin before the end of the calendar year.
The district's Field and Track Project Committee on Wednesday looked at three bids on the scaled down project to build a natural grass field ringed by a running track on land just east of the district's administration building.
Two of the bids came in below the $3.6 million the committee was targeting after its latest round of value-engineering on the project.
The low bid came from William. J. Keller and Sons Construction of Castleton on Hudson, N.Y., which returned a bid of $3,527,161. It was closely followed by Troy, N.Y.'s, Rifenburg Contracting at $3,606,942.
A third bid, from Ludlow's H.M. Nunes & Sons Construction of Ludlow checked in at $4,315,000.
"We were aiming for $3.6 million to be the number back," Assistant Superintendent Joe Bergeron told his colleagues on the committee. "We ended up with two firms within $80,000 of each other, which is what you want to see."
The Field and Track Committee voted, 5-0, to recommend to the School Committee that it vote to have the administration enter into negotiations with William J. Keller and Sons at the School Committee's special meeting on Thursday evening.
It further recommended that the School Committee authorize district staff to negotiate a deal with Rifenburg Contracting, if, for some unforeseen reason, the talks with Keller are unsuccessful.
"If, for some reason, Keller is unwilling to sign a contract, which I don't think will happen, we could potentially go to the No. 2 choice," Bergeron said. "We're in good shape in that regard."
Committee members Bergeron, Superintendent Jason McCandless, physical education teacher and coach Brian Gill, director of operations Rob Wnuk and School Committee member Carolyn Greene were joined at Wednesday morning's meeting by consultants John Benzinger and Aaron Singer of Skanska USA Building and John Hickock of CHA Consulting, who joined the call remotely.
The $3.5 million bid from Keller would be the largest single component of a $4.3 million project budget that includes various "soft costs," such as design and engineering and equipment that will be needed to maintain the grass field, like a water wagon that is needed now that irrigation was dropped from the project in an effort to keep costs down.
To meet that $4.3 million "all-in" price tag, the School Committee has, in hand: the remainder from a capital gift given to the district by Williams College in 2016, a $100,000 grant from Williamstown's Community Preservation Act funds and the authorization by district member towns Lanesborough and Williamstown to borrow up to $800,000.
The last estimate for the value of the capital gift, including funds already committed toward the field and track project design, was about $3.5 million, though Bergeron said Wednesday he hopes to have updated numbers for the School Committee on Thursday evening.
The district hopes to do the majority of work on the project in the spring and summer of 2024 with hopes of having the track (and nearby throwing areas) ready for use for the spring of 2025. The football/lacrosse/soccer field inside the track could be ready by the fall of 2025, allowing time for it to have a full growing cycle in the spring/summer of '25.
All three of the respondents in this round of bidding also responded to the district's previous request for proposal in September. After bids in that round came in high, the Field and Track Committee recommended a series of cuts that the School Committee agreed to include in the scope of the project when it was put out to bid again.
The district's consultants speculated that the reason for the difference between Keller and Rifenburg's bids and that submitted by H.M. Nunes had to do with the former two contractor's proximity to the Mount Greylock campus.
"Rifenburg and Keller both have relationships with local gravel supply companies, so they'll be able to move that cheaper," Singer told the committee.
Both Singer and Benzinger identified numerous projects in the area where they have worked with Willam J. Keller, whose offices are about 34 miles from the middle-high school.
"They're working with us at the Williamstown Fire District [on Main Street] on the early bid package," Benzinger said. "They've performed excellent up there. No change orders except for stuff we asked for.
"I had a project meeting this morning on the fire department project. [Keller] said they'd probably move equipment from that site right up here and start work this year."
Benzinger said that typically work on such a project could take place until the end of December.
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