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GHS building panel hashes out   alternate wish list for construction

GREENFIELD — To ensure that the $66 million high school construction project remains on budget, the Greenfield High School Building Committee has had to periodically remove or change elements in the school’s design.

Some of the changes — which range from a reduction in the amount of roof insulation to the removal of canopies from the school’s exit stairs — may be restored during the course of construction, when and if it becomes clear that the committee can definitely afford them.

When the project goes out for bid in March, subcontractors will review and submit proposals for each of the small jobs tied to construction, including those on this “alternate list.”

On Tuesday, committee members spent well over an hour debating what exactly would be on this list, and in what order.

Sitting atop the committee’s list is the purchase of 3 inches of additional roof insulation. It’s a top priority in the committee’s focus of maximizing energy efficiency, but it would cost $223,080.

In the same vein, the committee’s second choice — a purchase of 3.5 inches of mineral wool to add to the insulation already in the walls — would cost $98,590.

The list order does matter.

If the committee wanted to buy its fourth alternate, for instance, it is mandated by law to also buy the three items above it on the list.

Rounding out the list are:

■ Linoleum flooring instead of vinyl composition tile (alternate number three, at a cost of $368,285).

■ A “rooftop light monitor” that would improve the day lighting and aesthetics of the school’s main lobby ($83,600).

■ Two additional lanes to the synthetic six-lane athletic track ($81,895).

■ Synthetic turf in the space inside the track, instead of grass ($350,000).

Project Manager Jim Byrne and lead architect Lee Dore urged the committee to keep the list to six items, because they said that a large alternate list could confuse subcontractors when they review and bid on the project.

But some committee members expressed concern that other items — including an interactive “green roof” system over the new science wing — did not even make the alternate list, and would therefore be forgotten.

“(The green roof) was one of the things we talked up a lot,” said Chairman Keith McCormic at the meeting. “That was something that was put out to the community as one of the visible symbols of this project as being forward-thinking and environmentally minded.”

But, all is not lost, Byrne told the committee members. The project has just over $2 million in “contingency funds” — money that was built into the budget to cover any emergency or unforeseen situations that may arise during construction.

If all goes according to plan, that money could be used to buy some of the items on the alternate list, or even the ones that were cut from the list. Byrne said that at the halfway point of construction, the committee will likely know how much money it will have available.

Shawmut Design and Construction, the project’s construction manager, plans to break ground in April and continue work for the next 30 months.

Students are scheduled to completely move into the new building by September 2015.

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

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