NEW BEDFORD — City and school officials joined students at Hayden McFadden Elementary School to announce the completion of new school window and door replacement projects at four large elementary schools.

The Accelerated Repair Plan (ARP) was completed at Hayden McFadden, Alfred J. Gomes Elementary School, Casimir Pulaski Elementary School and Sgt. William H. Carney Academy over the past school year and included replacement of opaque windows, doors, and upgraded boiler systems at the schools.

"So this investment at four of our largest elementaries has been quite significant, and anyone passing by or inside the schools will see, it really makes them look like new schools," said Andrew O'Leary, Business Manager for New Bedford Public Schools.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority reimbursed $11.2 million of the $14.1 million project, with the remaining $2.9 million funded by the City through bonds.

The approximately 1,000 windows replaced at the schools were four decades old and had become clouded and opaque over the years due to the material used to produce them. The replacement process began in 2016 and included approval of loan orders for the City’s $2.9 million share by the City Council.

O'Leary said that in addition to providing more natural light, the new windows also help eliminate the biggest threat to any building--incoming water.

"There's no water leakage or mold or all these other bad things that can come from not having a structurally sound school, so you get ahead of that with a project like this," he said.

Mayor Jon Mitchell echoed those sentiments.

“New Bedford students deserve to have a well-kept, bright school environment, and the transformation of these four schools over the past year has been remarkable,” Mitchell said. “The accelerated repairs to the schools are part of a larger focus on reinvesting in City buildings to ensure they are maintained to provide the best possible environments for our residents – and to avoid the major costs incurred when they are not kept up adequately. The support of the City Council and the Massachusetts School Building Authority, each committed to this major project, ensured its success.”

Overall, Sgt. William H. Carney Academy underwent $4,534,227 worth of upgrades and replacements, with only $937,826 coming from city funds. Hayden McFadden got $4,557,913 worth of upgrades, costing the city $942,663. The Casmir Pulaski School needed $2,422,243 in upgrades and replacements, with $506,559 coming from the city, and the Alfred J. Gomes School had $2,588,400 worth of replacements at a cost of $529,069 to the city.

“These improvements make an incredible difference in our learning environments. The bright natural light adds undeniably to a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere for our students and staff. In addition to the energy savings, the ability to ventilate rooms in season with fresh air is a wonderful enhancement for our classrooms,” said Superintendent Pia Durkin.

O'Leary said that while the new windows and boilers were put in, the school also took advantage of the opportunity to use city capital funds to upgrade the heating and cooling systems, replace old rugs with new tile floors, upgrade internet capabilities and other beautification and facility improvements.

"So again, we keep saying it looks like a new school, looks like a new school, and it certainly does, with the way we've been able to double-down on this investment," he said. "It's night and day...the (old windows) didn't allow the school to look like a school, but this gives a whole new appearance to the buildings."

Courtesy City of New Bedford