Thursday February 9, 2012
North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN — Officials from the Williamstown School Committee and the Williamstown Youth Center have signed a 50-year lease — the last item needed to allow the Youth Center to build a new facility on the grounds of the elementary school.
The School Committee unanimously approved the land lease at its meeting Wednesday night, while the Youth Center’s board of directors approved it Monday night.
“With all the community work that has gone into getting to this point, I feel this a momentous occasion,” David Rempell, executive director of the Youth Center, said Wednesday night.
He said everything is now set for a groundbreaking on March 15.
“It is my expectation that this is the beginning of a wonderful marriage between the Youth Center and Williamstown that will benefit the kids in the
community and the surrounding communities,” he said.
Paul Jennings, president of the Youth Center Board of Directors, echoed Rempell’s remarks, adding that getting the project to this point has been a long process.
“What we care about is the children of this town, and it led to a terrific outcome,” he said. “I don’t think we could have chosen a better path than we did.”
Construction of the approximately 12,300-square-foot, single-story building is expected to be completed at the end of October or the beginning of November. It is being built to the south of the school building on the School Street side of the property.
While the lease is for an initial term of 50 years, there is an option at the end of that period to extend it for another 50 years, depending on a successful performance review of the Youth Center’s operation, according to the document.
In addition, the lease stipulates that the Youth Center establish and fund a maintenance reserve account and a performance security account prior to the effective date of the lease. The maintenance reserve must be funded by an initial $50,000 deposit and achieve a balance of $519,000 by 2032, the lease stated. The performance security must be funded by $250,000, and that amount must remain in the account for at least 120 days after the certificate of occupancy is issued for the new Youth Center facility, according to the lease.
Rempell said once that time limit, the money in the performance security account will go back to the Youth Center.
Rempell presented the School Committee with a letter from Williamstown Savings Bank stating that the Youth Center had opened the two accounts, and deposited the required funds in them Wednesday.
According to the lease, any expenditures from the maintenance reserve fund of more than $10,000 for a single item, and more than $25,000 during a year, require written approval from the town.
The Youth Center is also required to provide the town with an annual written report outlining the condition of the facility, maintenance and repairs done during the previous 12 months, and plans for maintenance and repairs during the next 12 months, according to the lease.
Monday February 6, 2012
North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN — An estimated 250 people came out Sunday to enjoy an afternoon of family-friendly activities at the Williamstown Youth Center’s ninth annual Snowfest fundraiser.
“In my mind, it’s what community is all about,” Youth Center Executive Director David Rempell said of the event Sunday. “The sense of community that comes through is extremely gratifying. All these people coming out together at the same time as supporting this organization — I would say that doesn’t happen every day.”
Held at Williams College’s Towne Field House and Lansing Chapman Rink, the event packed the field house with offerings including Wii video games, a climbing wall, a bouncy house, an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable Twister mat, spin art Frisbees and other arts and crafts. Athletes from Williams, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Mount Greylock Regional High School also played basketball and soccer with children, while families were also able to take to the ice next door at the Chapman Rink with members of the Williams hockey teams.
Despite this winter being warm enough to keep cabin fever at bay, children attending Snowfest dove right into the day’s activities.
“They got to the door and went in different directions,” North Adams resident Robert Sills said of his sons, Brandon, 8, and Alec, 4. “They get to interact with all the kids their age, and they seem to
know everybody. It’s a nice community event.”
Elinor Goodwin, Snowfest’s main organizer, said it’s that excitement on the part of the children that inspires her work.
“The motivation is the kids’ faces,” Goodwin said. “There’s a freedom here where they can just go and play. Watching people’s faces when they walk in the door is priceless, and when they walk out the door, they’re always appreciative.” Goodwin has organized eight Snowfests as of Sunday.
Rempell said that while the event’s fundraising goal was $20,000 — to be used for the center’s operating budget and scholarships — he expected the final tally to be “somewhat less” as the Youth Center is still in the midst of a capital campaign for a new building planned on the grounds of Williamstown Elementary School. A groundbreaking for the new facility is slated for March 15, and $4.26 million has been raised to date, Rempell said. Final numbers for the money raised at Snowfest were not available as of press time.
Both Rempell and Paul Jennings, president of the Youth Center’s Board of Directors, highlighted Goodwin’s work in putting the event together, but all three praised the roughly 150 volunteers who help along the way.
“It’s a lot of volunteers from the community and college athletes,” Goodwin said, adding that roughly 100 college athletes and 30 high school athletes volunteered their time. “The whole idea of community service among high schools is growing. And it’s fun; it’s getting to play with kids. The Williams athletes have always been really generous with their time.”
Two of those Williams athletes, sophomore soccer players User Kushaina and Ralston Louie, were playing basketball with children Sunday.
“It’s our way of giving back to the community,” Kushaina said of the volunteer effort. “It’s representing the team and making a good name for the team, and the kids are fun.”
“The best part is working with the kids,” Louie added. “You get to see local up-and-coming athletes.”
One such up-and-comer was focused not on traditional sports, but on the climbing wall.
“I really like climbing and I’m a good climber,” Quinn McDermott, 6, said, adding that his father, Youth Center Board of Directors member Marc McDermott, is an avid climber. Quinn was at Snowfest with his father, grandmother Linda, twin sister, Lily, and brother, Cole, 8.
“It’s a great day and a great cause,” said Linda. “This is typical Williamstown.”
This is a fly through of the Williamstown Youth Center courtesy of Black River Design. Construction on this 12,000 square foot building will begin in March 2012.
By Andy McKeever
10:01AM / Wednesday, July 13, 2011
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Engineers planning the new Youth Center revised the site plans to send more runoff toward School Street.
The center, planned to be built on elementary school land, faced drainage concerns from both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals but the engineers have addressed those issues and the permitting process is back on track.
Charlie LaBatt, an engineer with Guntlow Associates who is planning the project, returned to the Planning Board on Tuesday with updated plans that redirects more of the drainage toward School Street.
“We felt we have a great plan to make everybody happy,” LaBatt told the board. “This includes some of the storm water going south to School Street and we increased the size of the retention areas.”
While most of the drainage will still go toward Church Street to the north, the new plan slopes the building’s roof to push more of that runoff toward the south.
With the change of plans, the center had to return to the board for another approval.
“I don’t know how we can do anything other than approve it again,” Chairman Pat Dunlavey said. “I’m pleased and grateful that you came back with the changes you did.”
Previously, Chris Winters, who owns land on Church Street, raised concerns about the current water flow toward his property.
The complaint was first addressed to the Planning Board but the members said they did not have the purview to demand the changes. The board approved the plans but vocally said they would prefer changes that improve the drainage. The Zoning Board of Appeals tabled the discussion and asked the engineers to attempt to address the concerns.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The board of directors and Building Committee of the Williamstown Youth Center have decided to wait until spring 2012, rather than this fall, to begin construction of the new youth center facility on the grounds of the Williamstown Elementary School.
The timing of this ground-breaking will allow the Youth Center to move into its new facility in fall 2012. The benefits of this schedule include the following:
· It avoids construction during the winter months. The design team felt that it could be quite costly to begin construction in October because the building might not be fully enclosed before the onset of cold weather. Providing tenting and propane heaters throughout the winter would be very expensive.
· The revised start date provides greater planning flexibility. Once all aspects of the project are bid and the cost of construction is finalized, there will be more time to make any necessary adjustments. For example, if the guaranteed maximum price is higher than anticipated, adjustments to materials and design can be made in a more considered manner. Furthermore, if the price is lower than anticipated, some building enhancements that are being considered (for example, porches on the east side of the building) can be included in a timely fashion.
The “Together We Can” campaign has been extremely successful. Cash and pledges as of July 1 now total approximately $3.83 million.
“The success of the campaign and support of the community have been overwhelming,” said David Rempell, executive director of the Youth Center. “We are extremely excited about the construction of a new facility that will allow the Youth Center to continue to provide exemplary programs for the children and families in Williamstown and surrounding communities. Whether we move into the new facility in the summer or fall of 2012 is not an issue for us; what is important is a careful and thoughtful construction process that uses our resources in the most efficient manner.”