Haverhill Schools Receive Cooking, Heating and Lighting Help from State Green Communities Grants

City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill schools have benefited the most from $350,000 in state Green Communities grants.

The Joint Facilities Subcommittee of the Haverhill School Committee and City Council received the report Tuesday afternoon from Energy consultant Orlando Pacheco. He explained projects receiving energy updates this year included a kitchen fan and refrigeration control at Haverhill High School; LED lighting at Tilton, Walnut Square and Greenleaf Schools; and conversion from oil to natural gas heat at Greenleaf School. City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan said school projects generally can be turned around quickly and deliver the city’s best return on investment.

Jordan said he expects the state will reimburse the city’s spending under the Green Communities program by the end of June. Because of the city’s good track record, he quoted Pacheco as saying Haverhill could receive another $250,000 during the next round of state awards.

Councilor Colin F. LePage advocated for the green designation as early as three years ago when he invited Joanne Bissetta, deputy director of the state Department of Energy Resources, to address city councilors. Under the grant, the city must allow alternative energy research and/or generation in parts of the city, provide speedy permitting for those in “Energy Zones,” reduce overall energy use by 20 percent over five years, purchase energy-efficient cars and trucks and require home builders to use certain energy efficient materials and practices.

Members also received an update on plans to repair or replace Dr. Albert B. Consentino School. Jordan noted the next step is to solicit project management proposals.

Plans to ask the Massachusetts School Building Authority to consider paying for the replacement of the John Greenleaf Whittier School are expected to be before the Haverhill School Committee Thursday. Assuming approval, the City Council will be asked to approve the submission next Tuesday. The deadline for submitting the so-called “statements of interest” to the Authority is next Wednesday.

Jordan said he asked about the city’s accelerated repair applications, also submitted to the state. The city is seeking help paying for Haverhill High School roofs and a Tilton School boiler. If state money isn’t available, Jordan said, the city should at least go forward with the roof over the high school gymnasium.

“At this point, there are literally patches upon patches. There’s almost like no roof left,” he explained.

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