iBerkshires.com  reports the Mount Greylock School Committee is moving forward with a plan to build a 6,400-square-foot multipurpose building to the south of the middle-high school.

At a special afternoon meeting of the Mt.Greylock School committee last week, the panel authorized architect Perkins Eastman to release bid documents with a stated budget of $2.1 million for the building, which would house the district's central administration, storage space for Mount Greylock's groundskeepers, space for the school's athletics program and, potentially, a public restroom to service the playing fields.

With soft costs included, the final project could end up costing the district closer to $2.4 million, Perkins Eastman's Dan Colli told the committee.

The School Committee was at first taken aback by cost estimates that were $350,000 higher than numbers the district heard as recently as last summer.

The "sticker shock," as Chairman Joe Bergeron put it, had the committee members looking for ways to scale back the cost of the building and eventually led them to a strategy of including the public restrooms as an "add alternate," which allows general contractors to file bids with and without the bathrooms. That way the district can proceed with the other critically needed components of the building and return to the bathroom issue at a later date — like when it develops a plan for the rest of the athletic field renovations.

Colli said his firm could get the bid documents on the street as early as this week, allowing the district to open the bids this month an sign a contract in mid-March.

That would allow the district's administrative staff to move out of the construction trailers where they have been quartered since the demolition of the former "old" Mount Greylock began in the spring.

The district has known since the day it designed the renovated middle-high school that it would need to find a new home for the superintendent and her staff, who were displaced from their former offices at Mount Greylock. The Massachusetts School Building Authority, which is participating in funding for Mount Greylock's $64 million addition/renovation project, does not fund space for such administration, leading to the district's decision to keep it out of the "new" school building.

Fortunately for the district, it received at the project's outset a $5 million gift from Williams College.


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