Hunking School Invites Residents to Dedication Sunday

Katy Lillian of JCJ Architecture and Haverhill School Superintendent James F. Scully during a site walk last summer. (WHAV News photograph.)

Hunking clock tower sports gift tag from Shawmut Construction. (WHAV News photograph.)

Hunking clock tower sports gift tag from Shawmut Construction. (WHAV News photograph.)

The new Caleb Dustin Hunking School is to be formally dedicated Sunday afternoon with ceremonies and tours open to the public.

School Superintendent James F. Scully told WHAV the formal opening is a celebration, but also a chance for residents to see how schools have changed and are meeting previously unforeseen needs.

“It’s an official opening, but it is also an opportunity for the people that supported the school and parents throughout the city to see what possibilities there can be and what the realities are in schools today. When I say the ‘realities,’ we all know that children today are very astute when it comes to electronic learning.”

Scully thanked residents for approving a debt exclusion in 2014 to replace the old Hunking School, which was partially closed and shored up after foundation damage was discovered. He said the new school accommodates new learning opportunities.

“Meteorology, where children can study the wind and rains and different weather factors we experience along the Merrimack River, or they can study plant life because on the roof of the school, we have a classroom that’s called ‘the green classroom.’”

The building, itself, was designed to tell the city’s history.

“People can come and see how Haverhill was really founded. How some individuals at one point on the Merrimack found their way up the Merrimack and so named the City of Haverhill.”

Scully thanked voters for approving the construction project that will cost taxpayers between $21 and $24 million, or $71 per year over 20 years. By a nearly 3 to 1 margin, Haverhill voters across the city said “yes” to the project in 2014. The remainder of the school’s $61 million price is being paid by the state. Scully, however, said the project will end up costing about $1 million less than budgeted.

At the start of the year, students at the old Hunking School moved in.

“We have 430, and in September, we’ll have over 900, maybe over a thousand.”

Student Council Seeks New Book Donations

The open house begins Sunday, at 2 p.m., at 480 S. Main St. A drive to fill the school’s library with new books is also taking place. Residents are invited to bring a new book to the Student Council Book Dedication Table. One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote to various publishers asking for book contributions. As of the end of April, Simon and Schuster sent 38 paperback books.