hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

March 6, 2014

Work on new school escalates

Scully: Preparations save time, money if voters approve project

Voters have yet to decide whether to build a new school to replace the deteriorated Hunking School.

The vote will not happen until June.

However, you wouldn’t know that based on escalating behind-the-scenes work being done by Haverhill leaders.

The city has hired a company to direct construction of the new school. Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston will run the job and was chosen because of its experience building schools to specifications required by the state, local officials said.

Shawmut Design and Construction has directed construction of several schools housing students in kindergarten through upper grades, the kind of building planned by Haverhill. The company also has a strong safety record, which is important because the new school will be built next to the existing Hunking, meaning many people, including students and neighbors, will be close by, Superintendent James Scully said.

“We wanted to select a firm that had a proven track record of success, with minimal change orders ... was available in the time frame needed, and accessible when it comes to understanding our needs, and this company is known for that,’’ Scully said. “Also we have a tight budget and we want to deliver a good product at the lowest cost possible. And safety is important, as we’ll have 500 kids in close proximity to the construction site.

“We wanted to make sure the company we selected understands that this site needs to work, meaning, the site is narrow and there are challenges and this company had the best approach to achieving the goal,’’ he said. “One of the issues we stressed was safety, and not inconveniencing neighbors with dust and dirt. And this company showed us that they can deliver.”

Voter approval is needed for the project if Haverhill is to get state money to pay about two thirds of the construction cost. If voters approve the plan, the city must pay the rest.

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