AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of Amherst is looking for residents who want to join boards to help them with the planning of the Jones Library rehabilitation and the new elementary school.

Residents interested in being appointed to a board, committee of commission can apply at:

Amherst Elementary School Building Project

The Elementary School Building project centers around the current state of the Fort River Elementary School that’s part of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District. The project will combine the Fort River and Wildwood communities into a new K-5 building.

The Elementary School Building Committee will oversee the building project, by working with consultants to develop the required plans and submit plans to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The 13-member committee includes the following:

  • Town Manager
  • Town Finance Director
  • Superintendent of Schools
  • Principals of Fort River and Wildwood
  • School Building Maintenance official
  • A member of the School Committee
  • Two Town Councilors
  • Three residents

Members interested in joining the Committee will be expected to participate in meeting 1 – 2 times a month. An educational vision workshop is scheduled for Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The public community forum of the project overview is scheduled for February 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jones Library Building Project

Residents voted to in favor to a renovation project at Jones Library. Just under $14 million has been awarded through a MBLC grant from the state. Roughly $6.5 million is coming from trustee commitment. The town will now fund the remaining $15.8 million. The library was originally built in 1928.

The Jones Library Building Committee is tasked with developing a timeline, milestones, and plans for the project and recommend a specific set of plans to the Library Board of Trustees and Town Manager for approval.

22News spoke with the Director of the Library, Sharon Sharry, and member of the committee who said the groups focus for the next few months will be finding a design firm.

Sharry explained what she hopes the library will bring to the community upon it’s completion, “I hope that the result will be this inviting, open and welcoming space that everyone can use. That’s my biggest dream.”

Members of the Committee will be expected to:

  • Understand the MBLC grant program requirements.
  • Learn the history and background of the Jones Library Restoration and Expansion project.
  • Identify a wide variety of stakeholders in order to develop and execute multiple communication methods to engage members of the community throughout the entire design and construction process.
  • Form subcommittees at various stages of the project such as:
    • Design – visits the job site, attends job site meetings, and monitors the schedule
    • Interior Design – chooses styles, colors, and furnishings
    • Landscaping – chooses plantings and outdoor structures
    • Public Relations – keeps the community informed
    • Groundbreaking/Grand Opening – organizes community celebrations
  • Review, evaluate, and approve all project invoices and change orders.
  • Monitor the MBLC grant application and award process, including tracking progress towards meeting milestones and securing grant payments.
  • Support the closeout process with the MBLC to make sure the building is constructed in accordance with the approved design.
  • The Town is seeking a resident with experience in effective community outreach