Haverhill Previews Replacement Consentino School Plans Tonight; State Gives Final Approval

Architect’s rendering of proposed cafeteria at the new Dr. Albert B. Consentino School.

The public tonight may view the most recent design of the estimated $156 million replacement Dr. Albert B. Consentino School.

A presentation by the school administration and outside project manager and architect takes place tonight, from 6-7 p.m., at Consentino School, 685 Washington St. The program is in English with Spanish translation. Mayor James J. Fiorentini reported last Thursday during a regular School Committee meeting success in working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

“Yesterday was a great day for the City of Haverhill at the MSBA. Yesterday, the Consentino received its final approval,” he said.

The mayor gave approval credit to the efforts of Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling.

The 1969-era building will house 1,080 students—similar to the new Caleb Dustin Hunking School across the river. Of the $156 million price tag, which still could rise by the time ground is broken in 2024, the state will pay an estimated $70.5 million.

School Committee member Richard J. Rosa told WHAV a decision was made to go with a taller building so as to preserve land for athletic fields. He noted a state reimbursement formula is capped based on the price per square foot, but was not updated to reflect costs after the pandemic.

Children of all ages are welcome at the Consentino preview and refreshments will be available. Transportation is also available from MakeIT Haverhill, 301 Washington St., between 5:45 and 7:15 p.m.

During last week’s meeting, Rosa presented good news for two other schools.

“On Oct. 26, the MSBA Board of Directors invited the City of Haverhill into the Accelerated Repair Program with regards to the Moody Pre-school boiler and also the Silver Hill school boiler,” he said.

Last December, the School Committee learned Fiorentini unilaterally scuttled planned replacement of windows and doors and boiler at the 108-year-old William H. Moody School. MSBA spokeswoman Maria Puopolo told WHAV at the time the windows, doors and boiler replacements were omitted after consultation with mayor. Fiorentini said he was concerned high costs “would probably trigger having to re-do the entire building, spend millions of dollars on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements.”

The Moody boiler was approved after resubmission to the state. Rosa said Silver Hill will also receive a new state-paid boiler, but replacement of its roof was rejected. Although the criteria changes from year to year depending on how many requests the state receives, Rosa explained, Silver Hill fell short by one year of the minimum 30-year roof replacement threshold.

Rosa led the charge in seeking financial help replacing the aging heating systems in both those schools. The MSBA is expected to foot over 70 % of the replacement costs.

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