Image of the exterior plans for new Greylock Elementary School

North Adams School Building Committee Looks Forward to Design Details

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
05:52AM / Wednesday, December 20, 2023

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The "fun part" of designing a new school is about to start at the first of the year for the Greylock School project.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority's board unanimously approved the school district's preliminary plans on Dec. 13 and has invited it into the next module: preferred schematic design.
The proposed project would replace the existing Greylock Elementary School and Brayton Elementary School with a new consolidated facility for 240 students in kindergarten through Grade 2, plus pre-kindergarten, at the existing Greylock site.
Superintendent Barbara Malkas told the School Building Committee that they can't be complacent about hitting a milestone and thinking they can coast now.
"It is actually a very short amount of time to accomplish a very monumental amount of work that's going to inform this building project," she said. 
Matthew Sturz of owner's project manager Colliers International laid out an adjusted timeline for submitting a preferred design by May 2. In those four months, working groups will be meeting with stakeholders and designers to define and detail the new school. 
"MSBA expects the schematic design to be well developed and to really do a good job at covering the scope of the project that we'd like to proceed with," said Jesse Saylor of TSKP Studio. "This will be the design that becomes the basis for the project funding agreement. So this is really the time that your budget gets flushed out."
The working groups, as approved by the committee, will focus on teaching and learning, facilities and maintenance, sustainability and energy efficiency, finance and school safety. Each group would meet with the appropriate city and school departments and individuals at least once.
The groups' individual commitments would differ with teaching and learning seeming the most involved timewise with multiple meetings with faculty to discuss classroom needs.  
 "Finally, I don't think it falls under any working group, we will do initial meetings with the planning and zoning groups at the city government," he said. "And this is almost like a meet and greet to discuss the process, go over the when the initial submissions to the city that need to take place to keep the project on schedule."

Mayor Jennifer Macksey asked that the committee members consider what working groups they would be interested in serving on.
"I think this is the fun part, you actually see all those decisions we made earlier in the year come to life," she said. "So don't get overwhelmed. Just think about what you're interested in serving on."
Member Richard Alcombright asked if all members of the committee would be involved or just the voting members, and if they would serve on multiple groups.
Macksey said all members would be expected to participate and the superintendent had figured on everyone taking at least two working groups. She thought the administration would likely take up some of the areas but that she didn't want it to be exclusively her and staff.
"This project, this is a community project so we'd like to plug people into areas they're interested in," the mayor said. 
Alcombright said he was glad of that. "I wanted to make certain the whole committee is engaged in the process and in that there's an expectation for service going forward," he said. 
Malkas also noted that the MSBA board had been impressed with the educational plans.
"It was noted by the chair of the Facilities Assessment subcommittee yet again in front of the full board that the education plan can serve as a model for other districts," she said, adding that thanks to support from Sturtz, TSKP Studios and MSBA staff it "came off as a slam dunk."
"I sit in on a lot of these many meetings, whether we're pitching a project or pitching a grant application or just trying to drum up resources for the city of North Adams," said Macksey. "But when you hear members of the MSBA say that our design and our work should be an example for other communities, it just warms my heart."