Hard times for Haverhill schools
Recent times have been hard on Haverhill schools. Student fights at Haverhill High School during the 2021-2022 academic year caused Superintendent Margaret Marotta to move her office there. Principal Jason Meland subsequently bowed out after just one year, and Marotta named former Haverhill High School Principal Kevin Soraghan as interim principal and former Consentino School Principal Roland Boucher as his co-principal. The change in leadership led to a calming of the climate at the high school after the new administration cracked down on fights and mischief. Marotta hired additional guidance counselors for students to lean on during times of stress.
A teacher strike went on for four days in October before the School Committee and Teacher’s Union agreed on a new teacher contract.
Then, a hazing incident that came to light in November involving members of Haverhill High School’s football team drew widespread attention. Two coaches and a player were arrested and criminally charged. Those cases are ongoing.
Development to result in transformation
Local developer Sal Lupoli has big plans to replace the Herbert H. Goecke Parking Deck on Merrimack Street with a sweeping and transformational development.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the development proposed by the Lupoli Companies and made possible by the Baker Polito administration will dwarf every other downtown project.
“It will be the largest, most expensive and most spectacular project in our history and will add five new buildings, a new parking garage to replace the old one, an outdoor food court, numerous new restaurants, and a refrigerated ice rink,” the mayor said.
Economic and Development Director Bill Pillsbury said Lupoli continues to finalize plans and has been conducting necessary preliminary engineering work such as soil testing before the start of construction next spring. He said the first step is to demolish the parking garage then build a new one. The new garage will have 841 spaces compared to 433 currently. He said the Pentucket Bank building at the corner of Merrimack and Main streets is part of the project and will allow widening of White’s Corner.
— Mike LaBella