Mayor Domenic Sarno, School Superintendent Daniel Warwick, School Committee Member Maria Perez, DPW Director Chris Cignoli and Executive Director of PBRM Patrick Sullivan are pleased to announce that Gerena School will once again be the Springfield School District’s priority for Statements of Interest being submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). Also, the Mass DOT has awarded the Birnie Avenue Tunnel Project a project number: # 616664.
Gerena School has been city’s priority project for the past two years and the city is eager to work with the MSBA to install new HVAC infrastructure systems, complete the build-out of the POD classrooms, and continue to supplement recent projects and investments made to this facility. The city and MSBA have spent over 15 million dollars for school improvements at Gerena over the past seven years. These improvements have included a new roof, upgraded boiler, floor remediation in Tunnels A & C, new tunnel pumps and motors, a new indoor playground, and upgrades to safety entrances from the tunnels to the school.
Mayor Sarno stated, “This is a positive step forward in completing the long-awaited repairs to the Main Street Entrance to this community school. We will continue to work with Mass DOT in expediting this project. We want our residents to understand that the City of Springfield continues to take every precaution to provide a learning environment that is healthy, safe and protective of the children and staff at Gerena School, as well as throughout the entire school district. We are at a point that sufficient funds have been invested to keep this building safe and accommodating; however, we need to stay vigilant to ensure that state and federal funds are released for the Birnie Avenue repairs. I am pleased with the district’s Statement of Interest submissions for school repairs and the MSBA has been a great partner with our city. I will be arranging a meeting with Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Chair of MSBA, to stress the critical necessity of Gerena School repairs and the importance of MSBA assisting with this project.”
Mayor Sarno will continue his efforts with state officials in expressing the need for the Commonwealth work in conjunction with the city to release the funds necessary to repair the Federal Highway Bridge (Tunnel A roof) on Birnie Avenue. The road base membrane has failed causing water to penetrate the tunnel. The Mayor has directed DPW to continue to work with Mass DOT on this project. “We are thrilled to finally have a project number for the repairs to the Birnie Avenue Tunnel,’ the Mayor added.
Superintendent Warwick said, “We are very pleased to be submitting 12 SOI’s to the MSBA. The school district allocates sufficient funds to ensure that air handlers and tunnel pumps are maintained at high standards. Pat Sullivan and I developed a school maintenance plan over fourteen years ago to initiate appropriate maintenance for the facility and the results today are indicative of the successful efforts at Gerena School. This SOI under the Core program is the final chapter in the renovation of Gerena School.”
Maria Perez intoned, “As a member of the North End community, I am grateful for the work of the Mayor and the School Superintendent in applying for MSBA funding at this facility. The funding to date has made a dramatic change at this building and the community relies on this facility to ensure safe passage from the Brightwood and North End neighborhoods. I am confident that with the Mayor’s continued direction and his request to MASS DOT to expedite the Birnie Avenue project, we will be celebrating a groundbreaking for these repairs in the near future. I applaud the Mayor’s efforts and appreciate the opportunity to ensure we are keeping Gerena School in the forefront. It is a beautiful facility and is a great resource for the community.”
Chris Cignoli added, “The assignment of a project number is a key step in moving forward to the construction phase. I look forward to working the Mayor and Mass DOT in developing the timeline and moving forward to bid the Birnie Avenue repair project.”
Patrick Sullivan stated, “We are proud of the work completed to date at Gerena School and we look forward to continuing to research state and federal grants that will meet the capital needs for this school. Gerena School is a beautiful facility and the educational opportunities here are tremendous. Mayor Sarno, the School Committee, the City Council and MSBA should be commended for their efforts in ensuring that this school thrives. We are proud to be part of the SOI submission process as we continue PBRM’s primary goal across the School District to ensure a healthy setting for all students, teachers and support staff.”