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GHS may order lunch to go

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield High School Building Committee will decide in the coming months where to prepare the school districts’ meals during the first half of 2015.

From January to June of that year, just months before the new high school building is scheduled to open, the current high school kitchen will be inaccessible, said project manager Jim Byrne. The committee is leaning toward a plan that would involve renovating space next to the middle school kitchen, and conducting all food service operations out of that school.

Because the high school kitchen prepares half of the district’s 350,000 meals each year, according to Superintendent Susan Hollins, the committee has been actively seeking alternative locations throughout Greenfield. Breakfast and lunches are served in all Greenfield schools, and officials are keen to keep the service running because the meals are free or deeply discounted for the town’s many poor students.

Byrne said he toured restaurants in the area to see if there was an option to lease space, but found no feasible alternatives there.

The current plan in development involves renovating space in the middle school — the only other school that serves meals for the district.

A storage room on the ground level, about half of the size of a standard classroom, could be used as a prep room, said Hollins. Weights and fitness material would need to be cleared out and the room would have to be equipped with counters and food storage units, she said.

The room is directly behind the middle school’s kitchen — which would then serve as the district’s food services hub for the first half of 2015.

Bernie Novak, the district’s food and nutrition services director, will draw up plans for the space and present them to the School Committee sometime in the next couple of months, said Byrne.

Meanwhile, design plans for the high school are 60 percent complete and have been sent to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for review, said Byrne.

The $66 million project continues to be on budget and on time, he said. The committee is planning a ground breaking ceremony for sometime this April.

In the next few months, Byrne plans to release a detailed plan outlining the timeline of the project’s construction phases. One part of the project, a critical construction period during summer 2014, may extend school vacation by at least one week to give crews more time when school is not in session, officials said.

The search for subcontractors is already under way, said Byrne.

State law mandates that between 13 and 15 “trade” subcontractor contracts — such as plumbing and painting — are awarded to the lowest qualified bidder. Qualifications are due to Byrne’s office by the end of the month and contracts will be awarded in February, he said.

The construction manager, a phrase often used interchangeably with general contractor, can hire all other subcontractors without review or input from the building committee.

The committee hired Boston-based firm Shawmut Design and Construction as its construction manager in September.

That search lasted four months, dragged out by legal complications involving the committee’s first selection, MacMillin Co./DEW Construction Corp. An incomplete project application and subsequent investigation by the attorney general’s office ultimately cost the New Hampshire and Vermont companies the job.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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