NORTH ADAMS -- The stairs that lead from Colgrove Park up to the west side of the former Silvio O. Conte Middle School will not be removed.
Members of the School Building Committee made the decision Monday night. But they did vote to remove three crumbling staircases closer to the school, to install surveillance equipment and review changes to the building design resulting from meetings in the past few weeks.
Architect Kristian Whitsett, of Margo Jones Architect, explained the schematic design included the removal of the stairs closest to the school because they'd be more expensive to repair than simply take out.
"The second reason we wanted to take them out is we thought they invited people up, when we were trying to make a clear distinction between city park and school zone," he said.
Under the plan approved by members Monday night, the three staircases between Colgrove Park and the school building will be removed, and the land will be graded to slope downwards.
Whitsett also presented the committee with mechanical plans which included several updates to the building design.
When school is in session, building entry will only be allowed in a newly designed entrance near the east side, he explained. The entrance would allow visitors to the school to be buzzed into the main office, eventually moving through the administration area before being able to access the rest of the school. Staff would have keys so they could easily access the building, he said.
Another major security feature architects are looking to include are building lockdown options, by either a button in the main office, or even a remote function, if an administrator is outside of the building, he said. The feature would lock exterior doors, he said.
"It would also lock all of the stairway doors coming in. Kids could still egress out," Whitsett said.
A pre-recorded message would call out to public safety officials, he said, so an administrator wouldn't have to make a call themselves.
Members agreed to pursue pricing out video surveillance in the parking area, playground, building perimeter, and main common areas for inclusion in the project.
Members were also informed about window design. Kevin Riordon, of Dietz & Co., said architects will be looking at using high-efficiency windows that would meet minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements.
Whitsett stressed that moving forward, major design elements from the School Building Committee need to be finalized to go towards the cost estimator.
"Things can change as we move forward, but as we move forward we hope those changes become smaller and smaller ," he explained.
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