EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

August 28, 2013

New school plans unveiled tomorrow

Architect to show size, location, cost options at meeting tomorrow

HAVERHILL — Residents will find out tomorrow how much it’s going to cost to build a new school in Bradford.

A meeting of the School Committee and the Hunking Building Committee is scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall to make several key decisions related to replacing the deteriorated middle school.

Architects and consultants for the project are expected to pitch several options for the new building’s size, grade configuration and location. The cost of the new school will depend on how many grade levels it will accommodate, for instance whether it’s going to be an elementary, middle or combined kindergarten-to-grade-eight school. The building is expected to cost between $25 million and $50 million, depending on its size.

Superintendent James Scully has said he favors building a kindergarten-to-grade-eight school that would accommodate about 1,000 students. That would allow the city to close the outdated and deteriorated Greenleaf School and relieve overcrowding at Bradford Elementary School. Those are the other two schools in Bradford — the city’s fastest growing area in terms of potential new housing developments.

The city also must decide whether to renovate portions of the Hunking building and add onto it, or demolish the structure and build a new school on nearby playing fields. The state, which has committed to paying about two-thirds of the cost of the new school, has said it will not allow the city to simply renovate the existing building because the footprint is not large enough.

All options being considered would allow Hunking students to remain on site during a phased construction project, school officials said.

Typically, the architect meets first with the building committee and then reports a few days later to the School Committee. School Committee member Joseph Bevilacqua said it was his idea to hold a joint meeting due the critical nature of the information to be presented, the decisions to be made at the meeting, and the tight time frame the city is up against in replacing Hunking School.

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