The Andover High School project is currently in the Schematic Design phase, where a single preferred option is developed to sufficient detail to determine the project scope, budget, and schedule.
The process to arrive at a single, preferred option took place over many years, relied on multiple space & facility studies undertaken by the town and school department, and had the benefit of school department analysis including: consideration of grade realignments (i.e. moving 9th grade to out of the building, potentially to middle schools); discussion of pros/cons of adding a second high school and evaluation of location; and attempts to add off-site programing space (i.e. satellite school at Dundee Park).
The AHS Facility Study Committee (January 2017 to February 2022) used state funds to hire HMFH Architects, after interviewing several firms through an formal bid process. They helped the Committee develop and evaluate options ranging from just safety and security upgrades; to various addition/renovation approaches, including some that would add modulars; to constructing a new building. Their work also documented the space and environmental challenges at AHS, and was evolved into a formal Building Committee to move a project toward design and construction.
In 2022, during the Building Committee Feasibility Study phase, using funds allocated by Town Meeting, HMFH Architects developed 11 different site approaches (8 new construction and 3 addition/renovations) for evaluation and discussion. In December 2022, the Building Committee narrowed the number of site approaches to 5.
After months of discussions with students, teachers, school staff, town departments, advisory committees, and the Andover community, in February 2023 the Building Committee narrowed the number of site approaches from 5 to 3.
The 3 final site approaches included an addition/renovation referred to as the “Courtyard” approach, and a new building approach referred to as “Campus 2.” With Campus 2, there is was option to include a new auditorium within the school or to renovate the existing Collins Center. Each approach would meet the educational plan developed by Andover Public Schools.
In late March, preliminary cost information for the three remaining site approaches were presented. (Read the recap of the March 30, 2023 meeting for more information.) The pricing information helped inform the AHSBC’s recommended final, preferred option.
During the Building Committee meeting on April 6, 2023, the Building Committee unanimously voted to recommend “Campus 2 with New Auditorium” as the preferred building option to proceed into Schematic Design. (Read the recap of the April 6, 2023 meeting.)
Reasons cited by the Committee for choosing this option included: it is the most efficient building/site layout, is the least disruptive to students, it has the shortest construction duration, and it is the most financially responsible option.
The Andover School Committee voted to accept this selection as the singe preferred option at their April 6, 2023 meeting, and the Andover Select Board also affirmed this preferred option at their June 12, 2023 meeting.
The building design and project scope will continue to be scrutinized and refined during the Schematic Design phase, including evaluation of multiple massing schemes, consideration of floor plans, and evaluation of additional items that could be removed from or added to the baseline project.
The project will go through another round of cost estimating, next time with the benefit of a more detailed scope developed during Schematic Design. That refined cost estimate will be available to the community for consideration prior to town votes for additional design funding (Town Meeting vote for $1.3 million) and then construction funding (will require 2/3rd positive vote at a Town Meeting AND majority positive vote at a ballot box vote).