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Rowe picks school architect

ROWE — Greenburg Associates Architects of Putney, Vt., has been hired to produce schematic designs and cost estimates for a new elementary school that might replace the 50-year-old school that burned down last August.

The plans and options are to be presented at a special town meeting this spring, when voters will decide whether to build. The special meeting will possibly be held within a week or two of the town’s May 13 annual town meeting.

“We want voters to take as much time on this question as they need” without having to “worry about other business or getting home by a reasonable time,” said Selectman Paul McLatchy III, explaining why the vote would be taken at a special meeting.

Greenburg Associates has worked on several school and library additions in the area, including at the Leverett Elementary School and at Buckland Shelburne Elementary. More recently, it completed the expansion of the Buckland Public Library and designed the Warwick Center School.

The architectural firm was among 10 that had bid on the project and they were recommended by the School Building Committee.

Rowe School staff members met twice last month with the architects to discuss design options that will serve the school’s educational needs, according to Principal Bill Knittle. The architect is also using information gathered from surveys of Rowe voters, students and School Choice parents.

Meanwhile, two demolition bids for the destroyed school building were rejected, and that project will be rebid with additional specifications. The School Building Committee says, on its website, that it hopes to have that site cleared this spring.

Despite much talk about whether Rowe, a town of fewer than 400 people, should rebuild, special town meeting voters in January voted 100-59 to spend up to $250,000 from its insurance proceeds to hire a project manager and architect. The building is also to serve community purposes.

Currently, Rowe has about 58 children enrolled, with 36 coming from Rowe and the others coming from other towns through the state’s School Choice option.

For now, the school is housed within the Hawlemont Regional School in Charlemont. School Committee members, who want to see the town’s school rebuilt, would like to see a new school opened by the fall of 2014.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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