Haverhill School Committee Seeks State Help Paying for Moody, Silver Hill Repairs; Council Hears Tonight

Silver Hill Elementary School (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

The Haverhill School Committee is moving ahead with an application for financial assistance from the state regarding needed repairs at two city schools.

The Committee voted last Thursday to approve sending a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for necessary upgrades to the William H. Moody School and the Silver Hill Elementary School. Haverhill city councilors are expected to follow suit tonight.

Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance said both schools will require roof replacements in the not-too-distant future, and the Moody School also needs new windows and a heating system. He told the Committee at a previous meeting, under the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program, the state would pick up over 70% of those costs. Committee member Richard J. Rosa called the approval an easy vote.

“This is what we should be doing for taxpayers. We could buy it at a discount or we could pay full price in a few years because the roof isn’t going to get newer over the next few years. It’s only going to get worse,” he said.

Committee Vice Chairman Scott W. Wood Jr. expressed his concern that even with the discount, it was still unclear what will be the city’s portion of those costs. Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling answered this portion of the application is non-binding and exact figures would be available before the city must commit.

“So, we’re not committing any funds at this point. All we are doing is asking the MSBA to come out and look at our buildings and tell us, yes, you are in need of repair or no you are not in need of repair,” he explained.

Originally, the application was intended only for the Moody School with Silver Hill as an alternative. Pfifferling, however, recommended the Committee apply for both schools because it was unknown how the City Council would respond. Mayor James J. Fiorentini disputed that.

“Yes we do. If you vote for 12 schools, the City Council will approve 12 schools. If you vote for a budget of $200 million, the City Council will approve it and say it’s not enough,” the mayor quipped.

The Committee voted unanimously to submit both applications. City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage and Councilors Timothy J. Jordan and John A. Michitson requested Dorrance appear before the City Council tonight.

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