EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 24, 2013

Officials: Mistakes, poor work mar Haverhill school rehab

$1M needed to resolve Haverhill High problems, superintendent says

HAVERHILL — School officials said neglected repairs and mistakes by contractors who renovated the high school have left taxpayers on the hook for a least $1 million in unfinished work.

The officials are demanding answers from Mayor James Fiorentini.

School Committee President Paul Magliocchetti said the mayor is to blame for not going after contractors responsible for problems that include unsafe curbing at building entrances and deficiencies with the high school’s heating, air-conditioning and ventilation system. The air quality issues resulted when a contractor quit in the middle of the job, school officials said.

“Ultimately, this all falls to the mayor,” Magliocchetti said. “He put the project’s structure in place. It was his job to oversee the renovation if there was no formal clerk of the works. It was his job to watch over the project, to make sure it was done right and to go after mistakes.”

Most of the problems are highlighted in a letter from Thomas Geary, the city’s maintenance director, to School Superintendent James Scully.

Geary’s letter reports details such as the badly deteriorated roof of the pool building, unfinished common area ceilings in which pipes and wiring are exposed, the absence of an exterior irrigation system to maintain grassy areas, and a lack of security upgrades that school officials said should have been part of the $34 million renovation, paid for by the city and state. The renovation was completed two years ago.

Geary also said the building should have its own budget and technician in light of its heavy use and the recent investment by taxpayers.

Scully said the system that heats the swimming pool is malfunctioning and must be replaced. He said the list of fixes and upgrades comes to around $1 million.

Mayor: Job went fine, complaints involve extras

Fiorentini said he did not hear of any of the alleged problems until contacted by The Eagle-Tribune late last week. Regardless, he said most of the items have nothing to do with the school renovation.

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