The on-again, off-again furnace project at the William H. Moody School is back before the City Council tonight.
Councilors are asked to join the School Committee in resubmitting the heating project to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which would pay more than 70% of the cost. School Committee members approved the furnace replacement request last week after learning the expense is not enough to trigger costly building code upgrades, including replacement of the elevator. School Committee member Richard J. Rosa, who had advocated for the project, told WHAV why the new vote is needed.
“Because the MSBA would not let us back in for the Moody School furnace, we had to reapply and start from scratch,” he said.
The school’s roof, windows and furnace were included in last year’s request, but Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini asked the Authority in October to omit the latter two. In January, the mayor explained his rationale.
“The Moody School boiler works. If it brings us above that 30% threshold, that’s going to cost an incredible amount of money,” he said.
A recent appraisal of the school, however, found it is worth $2.2 million and repair costs won’t exceed the cap.
Fearing residents might misunderstand the evolution of building codes, Rosa said the school meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The only exception, he noted, is the elevator cabin is a few inches shy of accommodating today’s medical stretchers.
Rosa motioned Jan. 27 to make roof replacement at the Silver Hill School a priority. He explained over the next five or six years, the city is facing $15-$20 million worth of school roof replacements. He recommended submitting requests annually to the state in hopes of reducing the impact on local taxpayers. However, he added, cost isn’t the top concern.
“We know that a high school student was hurt when he fell on water at the gym because the gym roof was leaking. These are safety issues as well as issues about dollars and cents,” he said.
The city still will not ask the state to contribute toward window replacement costs at Moody School. Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance said all 110 windows were lifted. While a few need new counterbalances, he said the biggest problem was that virtually every tab needed to hold window up had been removed. Dorrance concluded that fixing the balances and replacing the tabs will cost only $14,000.
The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., online and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, room 202, City Hall, 4 Summer St., Haverhill. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.