EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

October 1, 2012

Developer plans 360 apartments near school

Decision on massive housing project nears as city considers size of proposed new school in Bradford

(Continued)

The Appeals Board is scheduled to consider the Ridgecrest proposal Oct. 17, but Pillsbury said the city has yet to receive critical information about water and sewer tests or information it has requested about the three-bedroom units. Pillsbury said the developers have also yet to provide specifics about how the project is to be financed, called a pro forma.

At a City Council meeting last year, Mayor James Fiorentini said the Ridgecrest project would likely add about 260 children to the school district. A recent school report projects 92 more school children will live in Bradford in a few years.

Fiorentini recently declined comment on the Ridgecrest proposal because he said it could end up in court. He did not return a new message for this story.

School Superintendent James Scully said it's inevitable that a lot more homes are going to built in Bradford.

"Sooner or later someone's going to build a lot of homes over there, that much I know," Scully said. "I just hope the politicians and bureaucrats entrusted with making the decisions (about a new school in Bradford) aren't short-sighted and do what's right."

Some have suggested the city should try to renovate Hunking or replace it with a smaller school with a less expensive price-tag, since Haverhill taxpayers will have to share the cost of the new building with the state. The city is expecting the state to pay 68 to 72 percent of the cost, estimated at $50 to $62 million for the large, K-8 building.

District-wide, Scully said school overcrowding is "the worst it's been in some time." Bradford Elementary, he said, is probably the city's most crowded school.

"This is a city issue, not a Bradford issue," Scully said. "because the children will have to be sent somewhere if there's no room for them in Bradford."

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