City to File Formal Notice with State for Consentino Addition, Repairs

A banner over the entrance to Consentino School on Washington Street recalls the February 2016 flood of the school library caused by a burst pipe that froze over winter break.

The Haverhill School Committee has taken the first necessary step toward expansion and renovation of Consentino School by approving the city’s submission of a formal Statement of Interest to the state School Building Authority.

City Council is expected to act at its meeting on Tuesday. Approval would allow the city to submit its request for consideration before the SBA’s deadline of April 7.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority shares the cost with communities of construction, renovation, additions or repairs to public school buildings. The MSBA reimbursed roughly 70 percent of the cost of the new Hunking School in Bradford.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the city hopes eventually to win approval for an addition of six to eight classrooms and renovation of the current school building, including a new roof and ventilation system. Fiorentini said an addition at Consentino will ease crowding there as well as at Tilton School.

A cost estimate is unavailable and a long way off, said Superintendent James F. Scully. Submitting a Statement of Interest is the first step in a years-long process, during which the city and members of the SBA board study issues such as the condition of the school building, educational needs and enrollment projections.

Scully cautioned that the city’s request can be altered by the SBA after its review. Ultimately, the SBA recommends a project scope to the city depending on its needs, he said, reminding the School Committee that the process will resemble the planning process that occurred for the new Hunking.

According to the SBA’s website, the authority’s board will begin reviewing all district’s submissions after the April 7 deadline.

The city’s submission doesn’t guarantee it a place in line for funding, Scully said. Rather, “it’s how we start to build a case.”

The Albert B. Consentino School serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.