HAVERHILL – Local businessman Ernie DiBurro has donated over $ 1 million in recent years to Haverhill High School’s Track and Field Program.
Now, a member of the Haverhill High Class of 1952 DiBurro is preparing to donate another $ 1 million to erect a building on the high school campus that will house several indoor tennis and pickleball courts for use. students and the public.
“I have been very successful and want to give back to the school where I studied,” he said.
DiBurro opened the Academy Lanes bowling complex in Bradford in 1963 and together with members of his family continues to run the business. He shows up at work every day, always happy and with shining eyes.
In recent years, DiBurro has donated to renovate and equip a gym at the Charles C. White swimming pool on the high school campus and also funded the construction of a large iron gate at the entrance to the athletic fields. of the school with a paved walkway and bricks. and steel arch. He also paid for fences to secure the sports fields and for the lighting around the track.
Additionally, DiBurro paid for all costs associated with the electronic announcement board at the front of the high school. He also donated thousands of dollars in scholarships.
Most recently, he donated $ 800,000 to build and fully equip a state-of-the-art sports club at Lincoln Avenue Stadium, bringing his total monetary contribution to the Haverhill High athletic program to approximately $ 1.4 million.
DiBurro is now setting his sights on an indoor tennis and pickleball complex and is contributing $ 1 million to the project. He said he plans to start construction in the spring.
“I am an avid tennis player and I want these indoor courts to be available to the tennis team all year round without the team having to cancel a match due to the weather,” he said. he declares. “The mayor loves the idea, especially since the fields will also be available for playing pickleball. All we have to do is make some adjustments to the lines and change the threads.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the city will likely cover all costs over $ 1 million using its capital projects account.
“We think the million is going to cover it, but if it goes a bit over the top, we understand,” Fiorentini said. “We’re not going to ask Mr. DiBurro to get it back, the city will pay for it.”
School superintendent Margaret Marotta said DiBurro’s donation has yet to be officially accepted by the school committee.
“I am delighted for our athletes and the community that we are going to have this great opportunity here at Haverhill High which has some of the best athletic facilities available,” she said.
Principal Jason Meland has said he wants the best for his students and student-athletes.
“We are grateful to Mr. DiBurro for being able to provide this to our students,” he said.
A former member of the Haverhill High School Building Committee which oversaw the progress of the school’s renovation, DiBurro also served on the Hunking School Building Committee which helped inaugurate a new Hunking, and is currently a member of the Hunking School Building Committee. of the construction committee of the Consentino school.
He says he knows what is needed to build an indoor tennis court building, which he says can be erected on a grassy lot in front of the Charles C. White Pool on the high school campus.
DiBurro expects the grounds to be leased to the public to generate revenue for the school’s athletic programs.
“The public could use it after hours and pay for their time,” he said.
Athletic director Tom O’Brien said the building would be a huge boost to the school’s tennis program and would be the only indoor court among high schools in the area.
“It will also allow our student-athletes to train and play all year round and we will also use it for our physical education classes for tennis and pickleball,” he said.
The high school tennis season runs from March through June, and tennis is the sport that’s most canceled in bad weather, O’Brien said.
“While other sports can be played, even if it is raining, the tennis courts are just too slippery,” he said.
“I don’t know what we would do without him because his generosity is second to none,” O’Brien said of DiBurro. “And he really cares about our student-athletes. Every contribution he makes, he ensures that student athletes benefit.