WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock Regional School District is one step closer to a sought-after school building project for its 1960 middle and high school building.
On Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the state's School Building Authority (MSBA) unanimously voted to accept the district into its eligibility period, district Superintendent Rose Ellis said, the first step in securing a school building project for the aging facility.
Photo Gallery: Mount Greylock accepted into early phase of MSBA. building project approval process
"Now the real work begins," Ellis said.
Ellis attended the board meeting in Boston with School Committee Chairwoman Carrie Greene and School Building Committee member Paula Consolini.
"This is a historic moment for our community," Greene said. "This is our opportunity to further the future of education for Grades 7 through 12 for both Williamstown and Lanesborough."
The district has submitted six statements of interest (SOI), an official request to be added to the funding list of school projects statewide, since 2005, but has never been accepted into the eligibility phase.
The most recent SOI, submitted last winter, lists numerous inadequacies with the 1960 Mount Greylock building, including failing heating and ventilation systems, energy inefficiency due to lack or absence of insulation, mold and ice issues, and spaces not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The building was added onto in 1968.
The school's ventilation issues were evident when the school closed on Sept. 11 and 12 this year, when 90 degree heat and high humidity caused slippery floors.
"The eligibility period is a critical step in the MSBA's process of evaluating potential work on the Mount Greylock Regional High School," MSBA Executive Director John K. McCarthy said in a Wednesday press release. "We look forward to our continued partnership with the district."
According to the press release from the MSBA, Wednesday's vote initiates a 270-day period where the district must show it can financially support a building project. If requirements are met, the district would be invited into the feasibility study phase.
Greene said the School Committee hopes to request funding for a feasibility study from the two member towns at the spring annual town meetings. Then, the district can undertake further studies and schematics, she said.
"Then we'll have much more sense of what we're doing in terms of renovation or new construction," Greene said.
The School Committee will inform the community through the district's website, www .wlschools.org, with documents like the most recent SOI, Greene said.
"Our main goal is to hear what people are thinking, and to assure people that we are going to do what is absolutely the most fiscally responsible thing to do with taxpayer dollars," Greene said. "We aren't looking to build something bigger than what we currently have. We're looking to downsize and be more energy efficient."
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