hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 18, 2013

Magliocchetti right to insist school carpet be replaced

School Committee President Paul Magliocchetti puts time aside each week to visit schools and walk the halls.

He says it keeps him in touch with what’s going on in the buildings, good or bad. He might peek in on a classroom project or notice a problem with a building that should be addressed.

Recently, he stopped by Hunking Middle School, which received repairs last summer to its deteriorating structure. The city spent about $400,000 to shore up the building, keeping it safe for students and usable until a replacement school can be built sometime in the next few years.

The structural repairs have apparently worked out well. After spending several months of the previous school year at the old Bartlett School due to fears of a possible collapse of part of the Hunking building, 150 students are back at Hunking.

But Magliocchetti said something stunk during his visit to Hunking — literally. When he stepped into the library, he noticed a stench, which he determined was coming from the carpet. (See story, Page 1.)

Magliocchetti was angry. He said he would not want his own children exposed to such a stench, and that Hunking students also should not have to tolerate it. So school officials are working on a way to replace the carpet, as well they should.

Some observers wonder whether the city should spend what might become a good amount of money to replace the carpet, given the fact that Haverhill plans to build a new school to replace the Hunking. Eventually, the new carpet in likely to be tossed out, probably not usable in the new building.

But it is best to think of the carpet not as an expense. It should be viewed as an investment in the comfort and even health of students who use the Hunking library. After all, it is not as if the new school will open in a few months, or even a year.

We applaud Magliocchetti for taking the time to visit schools, leading him to discover this problem.

For the sake of Hunking’s students, it should have been addressed sooner.

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