North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- Having received the blessing of the state School Building Au thority to proceed with plans to renovate the Silvio O. Conte Middle School, the city’s School Building Authority will undertake the task of finalizing the schematic design plans with the first of several meetings next week.
A subcommittee, tasked with going over preliminary designs and coming up with options, will have its first meeting Tuesday, from 1 to 4 p.m.
"It’s not a decision-making group, but one that will bat around ideas," Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) Carl Weber, of Strategic Building Solutions, said last week during a meeting with the School Building Committee. "They’ll come up with Option A and Option B and then we’ll meet with the full committee."
The full School Building Committee will meet July 23 at 6 p.m. at Conte. In August, the subcommittee will meet again Aug. 14 at 1 p.m., followed by a full committee meeting Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.
Weber said the subcommittee will walk the grounds and the building and consider the best possible options for the renovations.
He said the current schedule for the project allows the group until November to finalize proposed floor and demolition plans as well as exterior plans. Once the plans are finalized, which should be by the end of August, they’ll be sent out for cost estimates.
The schedule calls for the plans and cost
"If it’s approved then, we’ll have nine months for the design process," he said.
Should the project move along as planned, construction could begin as early as January 2014.
Preliminary designs for the school have grades grouped by floor, with kindergarten and first grade on the ground floor and second and third grade on the first floor. Fourth and fifth grade classrooms will be on the second floor, and sixth and seventh grades will be on the top floor of the building.
Architect Margo Jones said the plans are built around existing walls. The plans also call for the demolition of an addition that held the school’s gymnasium.
"The big thing for us was being able to fit a high school-sized basketball court in the former library," she said. "We’ve been able to do it by shifting it to one side and putting a stage on the left side."
The design also calls for shared classroom spaces in the hallways and classrooms for specialties -- music, band and art -- to be located at the ends of each floor.
The subcommittee will also be asked to look at options for the steep slope running from the school to Colgrove Park below it, which could be utilized for gym classes or outdoor activities.
Weber said one important decision before the School Building Committee is which sustainable design program it will choose to pursue, either LEED Silver or the MA-CHPS Verified Leader. To qualify for either designation, the school’s design must meet a variety of energy-efficiency and green-building standards.
"You’ve already achieved the maximum amount of reimbursement from the state, so it doesn’t matter which program you pursue, but you do have to be certified by one program," he said.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email email@example.com.