hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

February 1, 2012

$200K in tweaks all that remain for 'new' Haverhill High

After eight years, $33 million, nine contractors, three superintendents and three principals, the job is done.

The Haverhill High School Renovation Committee disbanded last week following its final meeting — and left it its wake a school with a major facelift.

Some final technical tweaks remain, school officials said.

Superintendent James Scully said about $200,000 is still in the renovation project's budget. Plans are in place to use that money for technology upgrades such as wireless networks at the school.

Established in 2003 during the administration of then-Mayor John Guerin Jr., the renovation committee oversaw almost every aspect of the project — from hiring contractors to plotting out construction timetables and monitoring the budget.

"We worked hard, but we also had fun along the way," said Paul Bergman, chairman of the committee and an engineer by trade. "Everyone brought something to the table."

At times swelling to 35 members, the committee met more than 90 times during the renovation.

"It was a daunting task, trying to make something nice for (a building) so tired," said Louis Fossarelli, a committee member and former city councilor. "I'm over-the-top excited about it. We can never allow any public building as important as that to fall into the state it was in."

Throughout the fall and winter of the last academic year, the school's interior received finishing touches, with fresh coats of paint for classrooms and hallways.

"I don't think this place had a paint job since 1964," Haverhill High Principal Bernard Nangle said, noting the poor condition of several classrooms. "This is 21st century compared to what we had."

The school was built on Monument Street in the early 1960s. It replaced the old Haverhill High School on Summer Street. That building is now City Hall.

Improvements to the school over the past eight years included greater handicap accessibility, improved ventilation and electrical systems and a new parking lot.

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