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Haverhill

September 30, 2013

New school will separate students by age

City approves design for two floors at Hunking replacement

HAVERHILL — The proposed new school in Bradford will have two floors, one for younger students and one for older students to keep them separated, according to a design approved by the Hunking Building Committee.

The school will have two wings flanking a center structure. That center area will house the cafeteria, gymnasium, administrative offices and media center, according to the design.

The building committee supported that design after Mayor James Fiorentini, City Council and the School Committee approved asking the state to help build a $61.5 million school for 1,005 students in kindergarten to grade eight. That building is to replace the deteriorated Hunking Middle School.

Haverhill must pay $24 million of the cost, with the state covering the rest, if state education officials approve the plan. The new school is to be built on playing fields next to the existing Hunking building off South Main Street.

The city must submit the proposal to the state School Building Authority by Thursday, according to the project’s calendar. The School Committee signed off on the design last week.

The new school is to have 147,992 square feet split into a “lower” school and an “upper” school to separate younger and older students, according to the design.

Superintendent James Scully said one of the advantages of the plan is that students at the current Hunking School won’t need to be moved during construction. They would remain in the existing building while the new school is built, he said.

When the new school is ready, the old school will be demolished and replaced with playing fields for the new school, Scully said. Use of playing fields at the site will be lost for two years, he said.

In late 2011, the city closed part of the Hunking and moved about 150 students to another school due to structural problems in the Hunking foundation, which threatened to collapse part of the building. Repairs have since been made, but the building is expected to be usable for only a few more years. About 450 students attend the existing grade-six-to-eight-school.

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