Haverhill High School Passes First Hurdle in Having State Pay for Partial Roof Replacement

Haverhill High School. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill High School is progressing in its quest to receive a partial roof replacement with this week’s invitation from the state to seek money from the Accelerated Repair Program.

In a letter, Massachusetts School Building Authority Executive Director John K. McCarthy cautioned Mayor James J. Fiorentini and other city officials that no money has yet been granted, but the invitation is intended “to explore potential solutions to the building needs that have been identified.”

“During the Schematic Design Study phase, the MSBA will partner with the city and its assigned owner’s project manager and designer to find the most fiscally responsible, educationally appropriate and sustainable solution to the building needs identified at the Haverhill High School,” he said.

If approved, the state will pay for portions of the roof that are at least 30 years old. Last January, schools’ Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling warned part of the roof was replaced in 1998 and may not be old enough to qualify for a state grant. He said the roof has significant leaks, particularly over the gymnasium.

Back in 2016, School Committee members killed a proposal to accept a 2.2-megawatt solar energy array atop the high school, which would have included a replacement roof. The project would have been built by MassAmerican Energy, but it was defeated in a 3-3 tie vote.

Two years ago, Haverhill School Committee Vice Chairman Richard J. Rosa advocated for the city to take advantage of the state’s Accelerated Repair Program.

The city had also been seeking state help to replace a failed boiler at the John C. Tilton School. That school was equipped with two boilers back in 2005 but one of them quit three years ago.

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