Field & Track Project
Please attend your town meeting to vote in favor of the Field and Track Project.
Williamstown Town Meeting on May 16th at 7:00pm at Mount Greylock Regional School
Lanesborough Town Meeting on June 13th at 6:00pm at Lanesborough Elementary School
If you have any questions, please email the Field and Track Project team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Motion taken by the Mt. Greylock Regional School Committee on March 16, 2023
For the Mount Greylock Regional School District to hereby appropriate up to the amount of $800,000 for the purpose of completing the Field and Track Project at Mount Greylock Regional School, pursuant to Chapter 71, Section 16(d) of the General Laws, and the District Agreement, as amended, or pursuant to any other enabling authority.
While we are requesting the authorization to borrow up to $800,000, we fully intend to bring that number down with contributions from other sources.
What is the project?
The project will consist of a premium natural grass field inside an eight-lane track with additional throwing sports to the west of the track.
The first high school track built in Berkshire County since the 1960s, the proposed track is comparable to those recently built in all other parts of the state to support track and field programs, camps, and recreation. The Mt. Greylock track will support regular season practices, meets and county/division tournaments, the Unified Track Program, the Mt. Greylock Little Kids Track Program and (potentially) Special Olympic tryouts.
The track and field will enable the region to host track and field events that currently occur at Williams College, the Pioneer Valley, or farther east in the state. The track and field will also be open to the public, along with the Mt. Greylock cross-country trails and regional campus as a whole.
The playing field will be constructed with organically managed natural grass, as well as proper irrigation and drainage systems, allowing for optimal game performance, all in line with the Town of Williamstown’s commitment to Net Zero Emissions adopted in June 2021. It will include lights to ensure night games are possible for lacrosse and soccer.
Why this project?
When the district began planning for the new Mt. Greylock School, it was clear the outdoor campus needed renewal, as well. However, the Massachusetts School Building Assistance (MSBA) program does not provide for outdoor facilities. The district needed to find alternate funds to support these updates. Williams College generously donated $5MM towards this effort.
Since 2016, various School Committees and Subcommittees (including the participation of parents, students, community members, coaches, the AD) have explored the campus athletic needs for Mt. Greylock. Originally, a synthetic turf field was proposed, but given programmatic, financial, and environmental concerns, the School Committee moved to this design instead.
This project provides the greatest number of athletes with safe, high quality sports facilities on the Mount Greylock campus. 38% of MG students (206 out of 536 students) participate on the track and field, soccer, or lacrosse teams this school year. (See table below.)
When maintained appropriately, the lifespan of the track and field is expected to be 30 years. The cost of annual maintenance is approximately $20,000. The infrastructure under the field is expected to last approximately 50 years. The track will need to be resurfaced after approximately 10-12 years at an estimated cost of $80,0000.
Mt. Greylock Athletic Participation Numbers
The five year average does not include Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 participation numbers.
Additional notes about this chart can be found here.
Who was on the Track and Field Project Committee and who did they work with to develop this proposal?
The committee, formed after the School Committee elected to develop plans for a premium natural grass field inside a synthetic track, consisted of Track and Field Coach/Physical Education Teacher Brian Gill, Athletic Director Lindsey von Holtz, Superintendent Jason McCandless, Business Administrator Joe Bergeron, Operations Manager Rob Wnuk, and School Committee Vice Chair Carrie Greene. The committee worked with an owner’s project management team from Skanska, as well as an architectural team from CHA.
Historically, Williams College has generously shared their athletic facilities with Mount Greylock. However, the availability of these facilities has declined due to the increased needs of Williams athletes while the track and field program at Mount Greylock continues to grow.
What is the timeline for the project?
The School Committee expressed unanimous support for this project at the November 17, 2022 joint meeting with the Track and Field Project Committee. The School Committee inserted a funding phase in the project timeline in January, 2023, when the gap between available resources and expected project costs became evident.
The School Committee is in the process of finalizing Construction Bid Documents with the owner's project manager (OPM) and architect and hopes to select a construction team for this project in late fall of 2023. Construction would begin in the spring of 2024, with an expectation that the facility will be available for use by the spring of 2025.
The project has already gone before the Williamstown ZBA for approval.
What is the project cost?
The cost of the project is projected to be $4.373M, incurred in calendar year 2024.
The project has been “value-engineered” to maximize the benefits to the district and the community while decreasing construction costs, with significant input from the athletic and co-curricular staff. The breakdown of the project estimate:
How will this project be funded?
We anticipate approximately $3.5MM of the project will be funded by the capital gift from Williams College; this project will deplete the remainder of the $5MM gift the college provided in 2016 in conjunction with the school building project.
Additional funds will come from the Williamstown Community Preservation Fund ($100,000) and fundraising (TBD).
We propose covering any shortfall in funding by borrowing up to $800k, subject to approval at both the Williamstown and Lanesborough Town Meetings.
What would be the impact on taxpayers if the district is approved to borrow the money?
The motion would allow the district to borrow up to $800k to support this project. As noted above, the district will continue to fundraise to reduce the burden on our local taxpayers. Below is a projected range of tax impacts, based on what the total borrowing may be, over the next 10 years.
Total Borrowed for Track/Field
Annual impact on typical homeowner in Williamstown
(Median home value of $359k)
Impact on typical homeowner in Lanesborough
(Median home value of $217k)
What was the Williams College Capital Gift?
In 2016, Williams College gifted the district $5MM toward projects outside of the scope of work in the construction and renovation project that resulted in the building of the Mt. Greylock Regional School. As President Falk stated at the time, "The fund is designed to support supplementary capital projects in ways that will increase educational value and reduce costs to the district and its member towns."
What has the district done with the capital gift so far?
To date, Williams College has managed the investment of the $5MM gift, resulting in the district’s ability to have already spent $5MM, with $3.5MM remaining. The district constructed the District Office for the preK-12 School District with public bathrooms to service outdoor events on the Mount Greylock campus, upgraded the fields to meet Title IX and accessibility requirements, built equipment storage and athletic support buildings on the school campus, and created a groundskeeping program to better support both this new field and all existing fields.
The district also used the capital fund to conduct studies, design this project, and develop construction drawings with landscape designers, architects, and engineers.
If we did not construct this project, could the Williams money support the operating budget instead?
No. The gift from Williams was designated specifically for capital projects outside of the school building project.
Why spend down the Williams College gift, when it can be invested at a high rate of return?
Until recently, the School Committee planned to keep at least $1MM in reserves for long term facility renewal needs. However, in partnership with town officials, a preference emerged for the district to spend down the Williams College gift and develop other approaches to long-term capital maintenance and improvement funding. This approach reduces the current request of taxpayers while addressing both the short and long term needs of the district.
What additional fundraising efforts are in place?
The Friends of MGRSD, a developing 501c3, is building a campaign to raise additional funds towards this project in order to reduce our borrowing needs. Potential sources include individuals and families and local businesses. The School Committee is in conversations with state and federal officials to identify any potential additional sources of public funds.
How will the district manage long-term capital maintenance funding?
In conjunction with our request for our towns to approve borrowing money for this project, the School District has requested the towns approve the establishment of a Stabilization Fund. Additional details are available in a separate FAQ, as that is a different motion.
What if the vote does not pass? Will the project continue?
If the vote does not pass, the School Committee will continue to try to find the resources to build this project. Given inflation, we would expect the cost of the project to increase, potentially faster than the rate at which the Williams gift will grow, creating a bigger gap than the one at present.