Haverhill City Council Approves Tilton Boiler, HHS Roof Applications for State Help

Haverhill High School. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council last night agreed that at least two city schools are in dire need of repair. To that end, they unanimously approved a request by Mayor James J. Fiorentini for two separate applications for state help from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The first is to replace a failed boiler at the Tilton Elementary School. That school was equipped with two boilers back in 2005 but one of them quit three years ago. The other, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Michael Pfiffering, is now on its last legs. He went on to say that because the boilers seemed to have died somewhat prematurely, he’s not sure how the state will react to the request.

“Based on the age of these boilers, I’m not sure that they will be approved. These boilers are to new. Find a way to replace them on your own. We’re not going to replace them again after we just replaced them 15 years ago,” he said.

Because of that possibility, Vice President Colin F. LePage suggested looking into other avenues of financing such as a Green Communities grant.

The other application would be for money to replace the roof of the high school. That roof has a significant problem with leaks, particularly over the gymnasium. Once again, however, the roof, which was replaced in 1998, may not be old enough to qualify for a state grant. If that is the case, LePage said it would be a shame since the School Committee voted down the opportunity to have the roof replaced for free four years ago by solar energy company MassAmerican Energy. At the time, there was a plan to place a 2.2 megawatt solar energy array atop Haverhill High School.

The projects, already approved by the School Committee last week, will return to that body for another vote now that the ages of the boiler and roof are known.

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