Northern Essex Community College Solicits Private Sector Bids to Redevelop Haverhill Sports Center

Northern Essex Community College is moving ahead with plans to have the private sector play a role in redeveloping and modernizing its Haverhill health and wellness facilities—an idea that has already attracted interest from the Haverhill YMCA. The state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance and the college yesterday formally opened to door to bids for leasing and sharing part of the campus that, officials said, “will address deferred maintenance, contribute to campus decarbonization, foster neighborhood relationships and boost recruitment and retention by enabling vibrant athletic programming.”

“Vibrant health and wellness programming is not only beneficial to our students, and essential to retention and recruiting, but also serves as a connection directly to the community,” said Northern Essex President Lane A. Glenn. “This redevelopment project will position us to modernize our athletic, health and wellness offerings and meet the changing needs of our community head on.”

As WHAV reported first a year ago, the state and the college solicited preliminary ideas that would be developed in concert with talks with the college. The Haverhill YMCA suggested demolition of the existing college Sports and Fitness Center Building and replacing it with a 60,000 square-foot health and fitness center; 10,000 square-foot early learning center; academic achievement center, serving the Y’s targeted middle school and teen programming; outdoor multi-sport turf fields and fitness studios, created in collaboration with Northern Essex and Central Catholic High School. The YMCA mentioned the possibility of leasing the property for 99 years for $1 and converting its existing Winter Street building into an “affordable housing development.” Maine-based Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure also suggested a 50,000-90,000 square foot building that would include a strength and fitness center, running track, courts, multi-purpose studios, locker rooms, possible field turf and ancillary use and classroom spaces.

Haverhill’s Draft $126.6 Million School Spending Plan Less Than Current Year; Mostly Avoids Layoffs

With money for the next school year falling short of what is needed, Haverhill Public Schools aimed to preserve teaching staff above all in its proposed budget. Pending final approval, the number comes in at $126.6 million, Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling told School Committee members Thursday night. Despite rising prices, the district received around $1 million less in total than last year. Explaining technical terms, Pfifferling said the money is not enough to reach “level funding,” let alone to provide the same “level of services.”

Member Richard J. Rosa said, “You started out the presentation by saying, level funding is not a good thing, and we didn’t even get to level funding. It’s just important that people know.”

Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s said her guiding philosophy was to “have the least impact, day-to-day, on children,” which she identified after surveying the school community and collaborating with principals.

Haverhill May be Seeking Assistant School Superintendent as Pfifferling Receives Marblehead Offer

Haverhill Public Schools may soon be looking for a new second in command now that Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling has been offered a similar job in Marblehead. Pfifferling, of Groveland, told WHAV this weekend he has accepted the post of assistant superintendent of finance and operations for Marblehead Public Schools pending completion of contract negotiations. His name appeared on the Marblehead School Committee’s May 2 agenda as a finalist for the job and the contract offer was extended last week. In his cover letter, Pfifferling told Marblehead officials, “I thrive in high-pressure and fast-paced situations, striving for positive results by applying my strategic planning and operations design and implementation abilities. Further, I possess expertise in relationship building and acumen for maximizing performance and inspiring colleagues.

Haverhill VFW Lorraine Post 29 Awards Citations to Haverhill High Marine Corps Junior ROTC Students

Four Haverhill High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC students were recently presented with awards and citations from Haverhill Veterans of Foreign Wars Lorraine Post 29. Post Commander John Berrini attended the ceremony to present medals for exemplary service to Cadet Cpl. Katelynn Hannon, Cadet Staff Sgt. Kenneth Monteiro, Cadet Staff Sgt. Rain Garcia and Cadet Staff Sgt. Yocel Infante.

District Reassigns J.G. Whittier Principal Condon; Union Calls Move ‘Good First Step’

Following accusations of creating a “hostile” work environment and failing to address safety concerns, John Greenleaf Whittier School Principal Matthew Condon has been moved to an unspecified position at Haverhill High School. Effective Monday, May 13, Supervisor of Science and Technology Kevin Higginbottom will become interim principal until the end of the school year, Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta told School Committee members last night. “Myself and the central office staff will continue to have a daily presence at the school as we make further decisions about the bridge to change at J.G. [Whittier],” she said. “We believe that this collaborative approach will allow us to effectively address the challenges we face while maintaining a focus on the success and well-being of our students.”

First hearing of the decision at the meeting, Haverhill Education Association President Barry Davis told WHAV he believes union members support Higginbottom, calling the replacement a “good first step.”

“We’re glad with the work he does as a curriculum director and I believe he will do some good work, so we’re hopeful,” he said. “It’s 22 days, so we’ll see what happens.”

He added, “We wish that this problem was addressed earlier in the year, when it was first brought up, but we are glad something is finally being done.”

According to the union, staff initially reached out to Marotta after a fall 2023 union survey, which WHAV could not verify, revealing most members thought their principals communicated poorly.

Haverhill’s Gabriella Garozzo Earns Accounting Scholarship

Haverhill’s Gabriella Garozzo, currently a junior at Babson College, won a scholarship for her accounting studies from the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants—or MassCPAs. Honored at a networking event last night, she was one of 51 students to receive the merit- and need-based Gregory T. O’Gorman CPA Memorial Scholarship. Awards from the organization range from $2,500 to $10,000, and it has issued over 400 since 2006, giving $1.9 million drawn from donations. Open to undergraduate and graduate students, money can be used for tuition, books, interviewing costs and other expenses. “MassCPAs is committed to fostering a diverse and talented accounting workforce,” said Allie Orlando, director of academic and career development at MassCPAs.

Whittier Tech SkillsUSA Students Take Home Top Awards in State Competitions

Students from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School recently found success at the 50th SkillsUSA Massachusetts State Leadership and Skills Conference. SkillsUSA’s State Leadership & Skills Conference, which took place last month in Marlborough, is the largest gathering of Massachusetts’ future skilled workforce and recognizes excellence in career and technical education. The event brought together more than 3,000 attendees, including students, instructors, industry partners, government officials, administrators and more. Whittier Tech’s SkillsUSA program was awarded the Chapter Excellence Gold Award during the opening ceremonies with Whittier’s SkillsUSA President Sam Kesten accepting the award. Additionally, the President’s Volunteer Community Service Standard was awarded to Natalie Delano.

State Senate Unveils ‘MassEducate’ Free Community College Plan; Would Start 2025 if Approved

Senate Democrats Monday unveiled plans to make community college free in Massachusetts, starting as early as this fall. The plan, which will be part of the Senate’s fiscal 2025 budget to be fully unveiled today, would invest $75.5 million to cover tuition and fees for all residents, and offer a stipend to some students of up to $1,200 for books, supplies and other costs. “I’m thrilled that we have taken access to higher education to the next level, as this initiative will bolster our educated workforce and lay the foundation for generations to come,” Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues said in a statement. “Tuition free community college impacts individuals most in need and whom otherwise would not be afforded this opportunity. It will greatly help to keep our workforce graduates stand ready to meet the challenges of a global economy.”

The Senate budget will also continue fiscal 2024 investments such as $18 million in free nursing programs at community colleges and $24 million that the state is currently investing in free community college for residents over 25.