GHS Construction

Seat change: Farrell named School Building Committee chair for GHS project

GREENFIELD — Timothy Farrell, a Greenfield insurance agent and a frequent member on boards throughout the town, is the new chairman of the Greenfield High School Building Committee.

The committee unanimously appointed Farrell on Tuesday to succeed Keith McCormic, who has led the committee for three years but is moving to Texas next week.

“I have chaired a lot of committees,” said Farrell. “I won’t do half the job Keith has done but I think I can do the job.”

McCormic said that of all the committees he’s served on during his time in Greenfield, the building committee has been one of the most cohesive.

“We’ve had a lot of very difficult decisions, very difficult discussions and arguments and yet no difficult people,” he said. “That really distinguishes this committee.”

Committee members praised his work and gave him a round of applause.

Farrell will take over leadership of a project that consultants say is “under budget and ahead of schedule.”

To fill the vacancy left by McCormic, Mayor William Martin appointed School Committee member Daryl Essensa this week to the building committee.

Lots of work ahead

A two-story steel skeleton of part of the new $66 million high school has been erected in the former parking lot. Shawmut Design and Construction will begin this week in creating concrete slab floors in the building.

Beginning in fall 2014, if all goes according to plan, students and staff will use both this new building segment and a portion of the old building.

That means that the committee will need to decide soon on furniture and technology equipment. The project consultants told the committee that orders should be made by December to ensure that they’re delivered to the new school in July.

Lead architect Lee Dore asked school administrators to do an inventory of existing furniture and technology in the high school that can be moved to the new school. High School Principal Donna Woodcock said that the list of usable furniture items would be fairly short, although the furniture could be moved to other Greenfield schools.

There’s also the matter of price, and right now the budget estimates for furniture and technology exceed the amount the Massachusetts School Building Authority has agreed to pay.

The school building authority, which is reimbursing Greenfield about $42 million, has budgeted just over $700,000 for furniture and $700,000 for technology.

The current estimates are $980,000 for furniture and $1.1 million for technology — although Dore said that existing inventory and a closer review of what the committee intends to buy could lower those amounts.

The project will get a new influx of money, though, because of a change order to use some aluminum wires on the project instead of copper. The change, suggested by an electric subcontractor, equates to a savings of $178,000.

When construction crews were demolishing a wall this spring to create the school’s temporary entrance, they found and removed material in the walls that they believed may have contained small levels of asbestos. The work cost an extra $11,000, although it’s possible the school building authority may reimburse for part of the labor.

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

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