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September 1, 2013

School for 1,000 students planned

City seeks state OK for K-8 building to replace Hunking

HAVERHILL — The city will ask the state to help build a new school for up 1,005 students to replace the deteriorating Hunking School.

The city’s proposal calls for the new school to be built on a field next to the Hunking or elsewhere, instead of on the site of the current school after it is torn down.

The School Committee and the city’s School Building Committee have decided to ask the state to approve this plan:

Building a school double the size of Hunking, which now serves grades six to eight. The new school could house as many as 1,005 students in kindergarten through grade eight.

The state to pay about 72 percent of the cost, with Haverhill paying the rest. The new school is expected to cost between $50 million and $60 million, officials said.

The location of the new school to be either in a field next to Hunking or another site not on the Hunking property. The location will be determined by officials later this year.

Overcrowding to ease in other schools across the city. Because the new school will be bigger than Hunking, it will allow students who live in Bradford but attend schools elsewhere in Haverhill to go to school in Bradford, Superintendent James Scully said. Moving those students back to Bradford will make the city’s other schools less crowded, he said.

Taxes to hold steady for city residents paying Haverhill’s share of the new school cost.

Scully said the current payments on the debt to build schools such as Golden Hill Elementary are about to expire and the plan is to continue those payments to pay for a new Hunking. But taxpayers would have to vote to extend those payments, which currently amount to $67 a year for the average homeowner.

“Your taxes will not be increased as a result of a new school,” Scully said.

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