Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick, School Committee Member Maria Perez, Public Works Director Chris Cignoli and Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management Patrick Sullivan are pleased to announce that Statements of Interest have been submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). As part of the submission process, the MSBA requests the school district to list its priority project. Gerena School has been identified as the district’s priority project and the City is ready to work with the MSBA to review the submission and continue to supplement the past projects and investments made to this facility.
The City and MSBA have spent over $15 million 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 tunnel to the school.
The following is a list of the recent MSBA SOI submissions:
Gerena — Core Priority Project
Edward P. Boland Elementary — Roof
High School of Commerce — Roof
High School of Science and Technology —Windows & Doors
Indian Orchard Elementary — Roof, HVAC
Thomas M. Balliet Elementary — Windows & Doors
Glenwood Elementary — Roof
Talmadge Elementary — Windows & Doors
Sumner Avenue Elementary — Roof
Frederick Harris Elementary — HVAC
Samuel Bowles Elementary — Roof
Mayor Sarno also is continuing his efforts with state officials relative to the need for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to work in conjunction with the City to release the funds necessary to repair the Birnie Avenue overpass (Tunnel A roof). The road’s base membrane has failed, causing water to penetrate the tunnel. The Mayor has directed DPW to commence with the schematic design of the tunnel to determine final construction costs and to ensure this project is shovel-ready. The Mayor wants the City to be prepared after the recent announcement the federal government is moving towards a Federal Infrastructure Improvement Program. Also, the schematic design will provide both the city and state with a realistic funding goal.
Mayor Sarno stated, “We have studied this issue thoroughly and by moving forward with the schematic design we can ensure we are prepared for both state and federal funding. The City will be primed with shovel-ready projects and we are hopeful a federal infrastructure program will be funded.”
Mayor Sarno further stated, “We want our residents to understand that the City of Springfield continues to take every precaution to provide a learning environment that is both 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/or federal funds are released for the Birnie Avenue repairs. I am pleased with our SOI submissions for school repairs as the MSBA continues to be a great partner with the City of Springfield. “
Superintendent Warwick added, “We are very pleased to have submitted 11 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 twelve years ago to initiate higher maintenance for the facility and the results today are indicative of the maintenance efforts for Gerena School. This SOI under the Core Program is the final chapter in the renovation of Gerena School. We are also pleased to announced the education improvements at this school as test scores have improved tremendously under Principal Escribano’s leadership.”
School Committee Member Maria Perez said, “As a member of the North End community I am grateful for the efforts of the Mayor and the School Superintendent in applying for MSBA funding at Gerena. The community relies on this facility to ensure safe passage from the Brightwood and Memorial Square neighborhoods and funding to date has made a dramatic change to the Gerena campus. I am confident that the Mayor’s decision to move forward with the schematic design for the tunnel will assist in the release of state or federal funds. I applaud the Mayor’s efforts and appreciate the opportunity to ensure we are keeping Gerena School in the forefront for repairs. It is a beautiful facility and a great resource for the community.
Executive Director Patrick Sullivan stated, “We are proud of the work completed to date at Gerena School and we look forward to researching state and federal grants that will meet the capital needs for this building. Gerena School is a beautiful facility and the educational opportunities here are tremendous. The Mayor, School Committee, MSBA and City Council all should be commended for the investments made that ensure 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.”
Director Chris Cignoli said, “The schematic design to be completed by the DPW will build upon repairs and upgrades recently made by the Massachusetts DOT along Route 91 and Birnie Avenue and will specifically address the groundwater penetrating the tunnel and the poor roadway drainage in the area. The design is also intended to address traffic congestion and speeding in the area of the school. We intend on working with any and all state agencies identify funding for the ultimate implementation of the City’s improvement plan.”