Mass. School Building Authority Votes to Advance Consentino School to Feasibility Study Stage

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta, standing, answers questions at the first meeting of the Consentino School Building Committee in February 2020 as Allison Heartquist, mayoral chief of staff, listens. (WHAV News file photograph.)

As expected, the Dr. Albert B. Consentino School advanced this week to the next step in the Massachusetts School Building Authority process for repair or replacement.

Authority members approved the Haverhill middle school’s entrance into what it calls the feasibility study stage. It is during this phase that it is determined whether the school should be renovated or torn down.

Last December, the Haverhill City Council voted unanimously to spend $750,000 from the city’s surplus to pay for the required study. At the time, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the price tag is the city’s “admission ticket to be able to get the Consentino School redone, renovated or totally rebuilt.”

In a letter, Authority Executive Director John K. McCarthy explained, “During the feasibility study phase, the City and the MSBA will partner pursuant to the terms of the feasibility study agreement to find the most fiscally responsible and educationally appropriate solution to the problems identified at the Dr. Albert B. Consentino Middle School.”

Just this week, Fiorentini committed to the school project despite expected budget pressures caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

At the inaugural meeting of the Consentino School Building Committee in February, school Superintendent Margaret Marotta said, at a minimum, the school needs six more classrooms. Currently, two classrooms were converted from rooms used for other purposes. “It’s not ideal for student spaces,” she explained.

The committee’s next step is to hire a state-required project manager.

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