At the March 2018 town meeting Plan A was approved – a $3.7 million project to bring WHS up to code, which
involved all three buildings: the Main Building, the Community Building, and the Bennett Building. Funds were also
approved for new space for the King Street School.
Bringing the existing buildings up to code did not improve the safety of the site. Students are still crossing an active
parking lot. The plan we presented was affordable to the community and would meet the basic needs of the school
and accreditation process, but does not address safety of our students.
The Haverhill School Board hired Banwell Architects. During the initial professional cost estimating and drawings for
the approved project, Banwell questioned why we were spending $500,000 on the Bennett Building if we could
connect the main building and community building and have a safer, better project. We explained we had looked at
this before and early estimates were $9-11 million for a connector addition.
Banwell completed the design of Plan A and estimated that taking down the Bennett Building and building a
connector between the Main Building and Community Building (Plan B) would be 1.2 million more than Plan A, plus
the demolition of the Bennett Building and sitework: the pavement, traffic rerouting and parking would be an
additional $600,000, for a total of $1.8 million more than Plan A.
In November, we went to Concord to present Plan A and Plan B to the School Building Authority. Commissioner
Edelblut and several others on the committee all agreed Plan B is a safer, more attractive plan for long term use of
the school site. They ranked our project #2 in the state for school building aid. The Chairman of the School Building
Authority visited our site on 11/26/2016 as well as the number 1 school on the ranked list and changed the ranking
based on the visit. WHS is now #1 on in the state on the ranked list.
The Commission recommended Plan A because that was what the town approved in March. They made our plan
eligible by a formula of “Substantial renovation” even though it is less than the $5 million minimum. Commissioner
Edelblut called us on 12/3 to say we could modify our project and will be called to testify to the legislature in
January/February when the state is building their capital budget. The Commissioner said he would sit beside us and
support our request for additional funds. Haverhill is eligible for 60% of the project in school building aid. Plan A is 3.7
million. We have to deduct work already done, as that isn’t eligible. We could expect 1.6 million in school building aid
and may receive more. Projects like this one need to go out to bid in January/February to get the best prices to begin
construction in April. If we have to wait until March, we will not likely get the best prices as contractors are booked
for the summer and we’ll miss breaking ground in April 2018. To do this, we need approval from the Court to hold a
special school district meeting. Our Court date is December 12 at 10:30. If approved, we can hold a special school
district meeting on 12/15 @ HCMS at 10:00.
Building aid has changed in how communities receive funds: if funded, we would receive 60% of the total project
costs, receiving 80% of our approved amount up front and 20% when the project is completed. Without state aid,
the tax impact for Plan A is $150 for a $200K home. Plan B is an additional $76 for a total of $226 for a $200K home,
less any building aid.
Dec 12th – Court Hearing in Concordfor Special School District Meeting
Dec 15th – Special School District Meeting 10 AM @ HCMS.