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October 30, 2013

Haverhill Councilor's proposal could save city, taxpayers millions

Requires parts of new Hunking School to be built off site

HAVERHILL — A proposal to have the new Hunking Middle School built off site could result in millions of dollars in savings to Haverhill’s taxpayers according to one City Councilor.

At last night’s meeting, Councilor Colin LePage said there is no question the city needs to build a new Hunking School, and that the currently proposed design to build a 1,005 student school on site through traditional construction methods is expected to cost $60.5 million.

He said the state is expected to reimburse the city about 61 percent of the cost, leaving taxpayers a balance of roughly $24 million. LePage says there may be a way to reduce that cost.

He told the council last night that by using off-site construction, similar to how the $11 MVRTA parking garage was built, it could reduce the city’s share to approximately $19 million, a savings of about $5 million.

Plus, he said that with off-site construction, while the site is being excavated and an extensive drainage system is installed, many components of the building, such as classrooms and other smaller spaces, could be built off site then trucked in and tied into the frame of the building.

LePage said he presented his idea to the Hunking Building Committee last week, but enhanced it last night through a PowerPoint presentation showing images of building projects in other states where off-site construction methods were utilized.

He said he wants the Owners Project Manager (the city’s construction agent in this process) to further explore and obtain cost estimates from qualified builders of off-site construction.

Mayor James Fiorentini addressed the council saying the city should consider any proposal that saves taxpayers money, without sacrificing quality.

“We asked the OPM to set aside one day to consider off-site construction,” Fiorentini said, adding that it will take place sometime in December.

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