City Council Agrees to Resubmit Haverhill School Projects to the State in Hopes of Financial Help

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

For the second time in less than a year, the Haverhill City Council gave the go-ahead, on Tuesday, to submitting two proposals to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for repairs to two city schools.

In May of last year, the Council submitted a proposal to replace the heating system at the Justice William H. Moody School. That proposal also included a request for financial aid to replace the school’s aging roof and some of its windows. If approved, the MSBA would have picked up 70% of the cost.

The Council also submitted a Statement of Interest at the time, seeking money for a roof replacement at the Silver Hill Elementary School.

In October, the School Building Authority rejected a portion of the Moody School request after Mayor James J. Fiorentini asked them to do so, believing the cost of those repairs could exceed 30% of the value of the school building. That, he believed, would have trigger expensive upgrades in order for the school to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

A recent appraisal, however, determined the school’s value at $2.2 million and the cost of replacing the school’s furnace will fit comfortably in the cap.

School Committee member Richard J. Rosa, an advocate for the project, told WHAV the MSBA required the proposals be resubmitted. He also noted the school meets all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements with the exception of the elevator being slightly smaller than some medical stretchers now in use.

The new proposal does not ask the state to contribute toward roof repair or window replacements. School Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance recently revealed the window problems were the result of missing tabs needed to hold the windows open. He said fixing all of the school’s windows would likely cost about $14,000.

The proposal for a roof replacement at the Silver Hill School was also resubmitted. The School Committee heard recently a number of city school roofs will need to be replaced over the next five to six years, costing $15-$20 million. The plan is to submit these requests annually to reduce the burden on tax payers.

The Council voted unanimously to approve sending both requests to the state.

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