Please join the AHS Building Committee for our next public meeting on Thursday, September 28th at 6:30 PM in the School Committee conference room (30 Whittier Ct, 2nd floor, above the Robb Senior Center).
The AHS Building Committee meeting will begin with a discussion of the Quad Board meeting held on September 27th where Town Manager Andrew Flanagan and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Lawlor provided an overview of the financial considerations related to the proposed Andover High School Project. Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Lawlor reviewed the various financial impacts of proceeding with the current timeline for the project versus delaying the project with the hope of being accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) core program for funding assistance in the future.
There were also discussions related to a preliminary “interim plan” that would keep the building minimally functional if the building project were to be delayed. That plan would attempt to address current overcrowding and some physical building issues, while staying below the improvement threshold that would require the building to be brought up to current safety and accessibility codes. The “interim plan” presented by the Town Manager involves reconfiguring the current site to allow for detached modular classroom units, limited renovations to the existing school, and associated sitework due to impacts the existing fields/parking lots; however, this plan would need to be further evaluated for feasibility, cost, and educational impact.
We encourage you to view the recording of the Quad Board meeting in AndoverTV’s online meeting archive to learn more about the costs and impacts associated with proceeding with the current project or delaying it. A subsequent Quad-board meeting will tentatively be held in October to review the educational impacts if the current project were to be delayed.
At Thursday’s Building Committee meeting, Andover High School’s Assistant Principal and newly appointed AHS Building Committee Member, Scott Darlington will present an analysis conducted of the current space utilization at Andover High School. Mr. Darlington will review the space utilization rate, room usage by period, existing classroom spaces, and make-shift spaces that have been created to address current overcrowding.
The Committee will then continue discussions related to the Heavy Timber Structure potential added scope item currently under consideration. HMFH Architects will review potential reductions to the scope of this item including costs for using heavy timber structural elements within only select individual areas of the building, for example just the gym, cafeteria, main lobby, or media center.
HMFH Architects will conclude the presentation with an update on the existing and proposed traffic conditions, vehicular circulation, and pedestrian/bike circulation.
A Quad-Board Meeting of the Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee, and Andover High School Building Committee will be held on Wednesday, September 27th at 7:00 PM in the Robb Senior Center Lifelong Learning Room (30 Whittier Ct, 1 st floor).
The meeting will include a presentation by the Town Manager and Chief Financial Officer regarding the financial considerations related to the proposed Andover High School Project. As part of the presentation, the Town Manager will review the various financial impacts of proceeding with the current timeline for the project versus delaying the project with the hope of being accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) core program for funding assistance in the future.
This meeting comes as a result of the AHS Building Committee’s 8/8/2023 vote on a warrant article requesting an additional $1.3M to complete the Schematic Design phase, with a recommendation for the Select Board to call a Special Town Meeting to consider the warrant article.
As a reminder, the current timeline for the project is as follows:
Special Town Meeting vote to authorize $1.3 million to complete Phase 2 of Schematic Design (targeting Fall 2023)
Development of Schematic Design-level drawings and specifications, construction cost estimating, and development of a total project budget (targeting early 2024)
Special Town Meeting vote to authorize full project funding approval – requires 66%+ positive vote to pass (targeting February/March 2024)
Ballot box vote by community to authorize full project funding approval – requires 50%+ positive vote to pass (targeting February/March 2024)
Construction start (targeting Summer 2025)
New building complete for student and faculty move-in (targeting Fall 2028)
Full project complete, including site work (targeting Summer 2030)
The Andover High School Building Committee Meeting met on 9/14/23 beginning at 7:50 AM. Topics included: updated rough project costs based on the March 2023 preliminary Feasibility Study (FS) cost information, potential use of heavy timber structure in the building, and presentation of a revised building massing & interior scheme. A replay of the meeting can be found in the Andover TV archive and highlights are summarized below:
Updated Rough Project Cost
As the project continues through the Schematic Design (SD) Phase, Andover Public Schools and the AHS Building Committee have been working with the design team to help define the scope of the project. As part of this, the space summary has been refined to better reflect the school’s educational needs, and the Committee has been making informed decisions related to scope adds and deducts.
Based on costs estimated at the Feasibility Study level of detail (March 2023), the estimated total project cost was roughly $484 million. The most current cost snapshot (September 2023) shows a net $33 million decrease in total project cost, putting it at roughly $451 million.
Detail on the items impacting the cost – including what has been removed and added from the project during the Schematic Design phase – can be found here. As a summary, cost decreases have come from refining the space summary (working with educators to find areas of consolidation) and from use of less expensive materials (brick instead of rain screens, for example); increases have come from expanding the plateau to into a competition-sized field with turf.
Additionally, the Committee has voted to remove roughly $76 million in potential scope adds from the project (parking garage, porous pavement, skate park, sports lighting in front of the school, and solar panel purchase have all been removed from consideration) and the Committee is still reviewing roughly $54 million in potential scope adds (sports lighting at the plateau field, an enclosed walkway between the new school and Field House, the use of structural timber in select locations, sustainable irrigation, and mechanical system upgrades).
PMA explained that the cost figures presented are rough magnitude cost estimates that were provided during the Feasibility Study phase for comparison and decision-making purposes only. Once Schematic Design is complete, the project scope will be refined enough for professional estimators to provide a total project cost estimate, which will be brought to Andover voters for their consideration.
Heavy Timber Structure
A potential project add is is to use heavy timber, rather than structural steel, in some areas of the building. This choice would be made for environmental reasons because it would reduce the carbon footprint of the building. If 40% of the structural steel were to be replaced with heavy timber, the estimated cost would be $7 million.
Due to that overall cost, the Committee requested that the design team investigate reducing the scope of this item, and provide costs for using heavy timber structural elements within only an area of the building, for example just the the gym, cafeteria, main lobby, or media center.
Option 3 includes a central spine of shared spaces (cafeteria and media center), with athletics and performing arts on the East side of the building, and academics on the West side. Administration is located next to each the front (main office) and back entrances (guidance & nursing), and the media center is on the third and fourth floors. The design also provides two outdoor learning spaces, including one that adjoins the cafeteria and maker spaces. The Option 3 floor plans can be found beginning on slide 20 of the September 14th presentation.
HMFH also presented various shadow studies for each of the 3 options. A goal for placement, orientation, and design of the building is to allow natural light into the academic wings and exterior courtyards.
Why Design Matters
HMFH concluded the meeting presentation with information from “Schools for Health Home.” Schools For Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 6 Mar. 2020, schools.forhealth.org/ related to the impacts of a buildings’ environment on faculty and students. Here were the key-takeaways:
Thermal Comfort: Several large studies show thermal health can influence academic performance. Students’ academic performance could significantly benefit from adequately maintaining thermal comfort in classrooms
Classroom Acoustics: Research has shown that chronic exposures to internal and external sources of noise can lead to deficits in test scores
Lighting and Access to Natural Light: Students in classrooms with access to green views through their windows have been observed to experience significantly faster recovery from stress and mental fatigue and performed significantly higher on tests of attentional functioning. Helps keep circadian sleep-wake cycle in proper alignment. Circadian rhythms influence basic cognitive processes such as attention, working memory, and executive function.
Air Quality: Improving Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) can positively affect cognitive function outcomes, such as decision-making, attention, concentration, and memory. Studies have found that higher ventilation rates and low CO2 levels can positively affect cognitive function. Multiple studies have shown that when steps to mitigate poor IEQ are taken, students’ academic performance improves.
Upcoming Building Committee Meetings
The next AHS Building Committee meeting will be Thursday, 9/28/23 in the School Committee conference room (30 Whittier Ct, 2nd floor, above the Robb Senior Center).
The Committee will also be hosting community tours of the existing Andover High School on Saturday, 9/30/23 from 9-11am, followed by a forum from 11am-12pm in the Andover TV studio located with the high school.
For more information on the 9/14/23 AHS Building Committee meeting, please see the full meeting presentation. To watch a replay of the meeting, you can find the AndoverTV recording in their meeting archive.
Join us! The next meeting of the AHS Building Committee is tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, 2023 beginning at 7:50 AM in the School Committee conference room.
The primary focus of the meeting will be continuing to refine the building massing, with a look and what functions would reside in each section of the building, along with potential floor plans. We are expecting an updated scheme and new physical model that incorporate prior feedback.
Additionally, the meeting will include:
discussion of rough project costs, including update from decisions made since the March 2023 estimate
continued discussion of project deductions and additions to refine scope
presentation of an updated building massing scheme based on feedback received so far
discussion of ongoing community outreach (Please let us know if we can attend your event for a discussion!)
Building Committee meetings typically alternate between mornings (2nd Thursday of each month) and evenings (4th Thursday of each month) with the hope people with varying schedules can attend. Even if you cannot attend in person, you can always send feedback, questions, or comments about the project to email@example.com.
The Building Committee has received several questions about the high temperatures within Andover High School resulting from this week’s weather. Below we are pasting information from a prior AHS Facilities FAQ that summarizes facility conditions identified in 2018 which make HVAC upgrades challenging and expensive.
Q3. Why is the temperature within Andover High often uncomfortable in winter and summer? What are the major contributing factors?
A3. The climate control systems in Andover High are well maintained and actively managed, even earning Energy Star rating for the efficiency of current systems. However, these current systems rely on old technology and major components — including boilers and unit ventilators — that are reaching the end of useful life and need replacement.
HVAC experts have observed that meaningful replacement of Andover High’s aging climate control technology would best be supported by also upgrading other critical energy components.
For example, almost all high school windows are drafty and do not sufficiently block UV light, allowing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Unit ventilators are the large boxes typically seen under windows along exterior walls to heat outside air as it enters classrooms during cold weather. The technology they use has been largely unchanged in over 60 years.
But most notably, the current building is constructed of concrete with no insulation in the original exterior walls and with floors that create a “thermal bridge” by extending past the building façade, thereby drawing heat out of the building in the winter and increasing room temperatures in the warmer months.
Replacing the extensive unit ventilator system without also addressing the building envelope of the original building would provide only very limited climate improvement.*
Additionally, in each classroom, unit ventilators bring outside air into the building to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. When rooms are overcrowded, CO2 increases faster than heating elements can keep up with the airflow, resulting in cold outside air being blown into classrooms throughout the winter. The unit ventilators are also loud and distract from learning.
A facility project that simply replaces unit ventilators in-kind — rather than upgrading the heating technology and improving the building envelope — will bring a continuation of the same climate control problems, and may not even save money in the long run. In addition to solving these problems, a modern climate system would bring an opportunity for replacing the unit ventilation system with a displacement air system similar to the system installed at Bancroft Elementary. This would increase comfort during shoulder seasons and allow year-round use of the building.
In March 2023, the AHS project underwent a Feasibility Study cost estimation exercise. Costs determined during the Feasibility Study stage are always preliminary, largely based on total gross floor area and time required to construct the different schemes, and escalated using industry standard multipliers to arrive at costs.
The Building Committee has used these feasibility study cost estimates for two main purposes:
1. To compare multiple feasibility study approaches to each other.
The information assisted the Committee in narrowing the final three design options to a single, preferred option.
For example, knowing a renovation was more expensive than construction of a new building was a helpful contributing factor to the final selection of the “Campus 2 plus new auditorium” site approach.
2. To have a rough idea of cost for potential additions or subtractions to the project scope.
The community and project team have identified several areas of high impact, where decisions need to be made to define the project scope. These items are summarized in the categories of either potential cost-saving measures or potential added-scope items and are described in more detail on the Design Items For Schematic Design page.
For example, consolidation and adjustment of space sizes has resulted in an approximate reduction of $17.35 million ($1.15 million for each 1,000 net square feet); upgrading the mechanical plant to heat pumps or geothermal could increase costs between roughly $17 million and $42 million prior to considering energy rebates.
A September 2023 snapshot summary of scope and cost (based on March 2023 estimates) can be found in this presentation. It describes total estimated cost of the project declining from roughly $484 million in March to roughly $452 million in September based on decisions made in public discussions by the Building Committee. It also summarizes items that are still under consideration which could impact the current snapshot.
The project is now in the Schematic Design phase, where the single preferred option is developed, and every aspect of the project is scrutinized and discussed with the benefit of feedback from stakeholders throughout the schools, town, and community.
Schematic Design will produce much more specific design documents as opposed to the preliminary Feasibility Study diagrams, including those which define structural, mechanical, electrical, fire protection systems; materials; floor plans; and a more developed site design.
With the project more firmly defined, the Schematic Design phase will conclude with another cost estimating exercise, this time meant to establish the total project budget for consideration of approval by Andover voters.
The Andover High School Building Committee Meeting met on 8/24/23 beginning at 6:30 PM. Meeting highlights are summarized below:
The meeting began with an update from Andrew Flanagan, Town Manager, and AHS Building Committee Member on the proposed skate park. Mr. Flanagan noted that the Town has decided to exclude a skate park from the Andover High School Project and will be investigating the feasibility of constructing a new skate park elsewhere in Town.
Following this, the Committee unanimously voted to remove the skate park from the project with the understanding that the Town will explore alternate site locations. The cost of the skate park (~$4,7010,00) was not included within the preliminary Feasibility Study cost information presented in late March / early April 2023, and therefore, this decision to exclude this scope from the project does not impact the project budget.
Next, the Committee heard from Wayne Puglisi, Andover’s Athletic Director, on the value of adding sports lighting to the project. Mr. Puglisi shared a draft Fall sports schedule overviewing the available practice/game timeslots for the proposed site design assuming that the plateau field is lit.
Mr. Puglisi noted that adding sports lighting to just the plateau field would allow for all teams to practice on site during the Fall season (AHS’ busiest sports season), and that lighting additional fields would increase the number of available timeslots.
Currently, some teams are forced to practice off campus due to the limited number of available timeslots in the Fall. After multiple AHS Building Committee meetings and Community Forums seeking feedback from the community and Town staff on sports lighting, the Committee voted to remove sports lighting at the multipurpose field, baseball field, and softball field from the project; however, kept sports lighting at the plateau field open for further consideration.
Following the discussions on the skate park and sports lighting, the design team focused the presentation on traffic circulation, parking, building massing/layout, and preliminary interior floor plans. The landscape architect, Arcadis Architects, reviewed the design principles to reduce traffic congestion which included the following:
Place parking at the perimeter
Provide two zones for arrival and dismissal
Separate bus and car queuing
Maximize queuing and circulation options
Minimize need for enforcement
Prioritize student pedestrian experience
Arcadis then reviewed various traffic configurations for buses and cars in the morning and in the afternoon for both the High School and West Middle School. Arcadis noted that the configuration/options presented are preliminary and are subject to change as the design team seeks feedback from the Committee, Town staff, and the community. The preliminary traffic designs are included within slides 10-20 of the 8/24/23 AHS Building Committee presentation.
The design team then shifted focus to building massing and preliminary interior floor plans, which is a continued discussion from the 7/27/23 AHS Building Committee meeting.
HMFH Architects presented 4 preliminary building massing models along with initial interior floor plans showing different space configurations for each option (click each picture to enlarge):
The Committee, project team, and community reviewed the physical building models for each option and discussed the various advantages and disadvantages of each. HMFH Architects will look for the Committee to decide on a building massing model in the coming weeks to allow for further refinement of the building design and development of the Schematic Design pricing documents.
The public is encouraged to provide feedback on these massing models and any other aspect of the project by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your feedback!
The full meeting presentation can be found here. To watch a replay of the meeting, you can find the AndoverTV recording in their meeting archive.
Please join the AHS Building Committee for our next public meeting on Thursday, August 24th at 6:30 PM in the School Committee conference room (30 Whittier Ct, 2nd floor, above the Robb Senior Center).
The landscape architect, Arcadis Architects and the traffic consultant, The Engineering Corp (TEC) will continue their presentation of the preliminary site design and traffic circulation from the 8/8/23 AHS Building Committee meeting.
Arcadis and TEC will review draft design options for pickup and drop-off, vehicle queuing areas, circulation through the project site, bike and walk paths, access and egress points from Moraine Street and Shawsheen Road, and parking configurations.
The site design and traffic circulation will evolve during Schematic Design as the project team continues to meet with the Committee, Andover Public Schools, community members, Andover Police & Fire, Facilities, and other Town Departments for feedback on the draft design options.
HMFH Architects will also further review the preliminary building massing models and interior floor plans with the Committee, which were initially discussed during the 7/27/23 AHS Building Committee meeting. HMFH will examine initial interior space configurations, as well as the size and orientation of the new building on the project site.
Additionally, the presentation will include further discussions related to potential added scope items including sports lighting and a skate park. HMFH Architects will review the costs associated with adding sports field lighting, preliminary pole heights/counts, and lighting impacts for the Committee to consider. The Committee also anticipates Andrew Flanagan, Town Manager, and AHS Building Committee member will provide recommendation around whether a skate park should be included in the scope of the project.
Sports lighting and the skate park were not included within the preliminary total project estimate presented during the Feasibility Study phase in March/April 2023. If accepted, the scope will be included in the Schematic Design documents and the costs will be further refined at the end of the Schematic Design phase within the total project budget. The Committee anticipates a decision regarding sports lighting and the skate park will be made during the 8/24/23 AHS Building Committee Meeting.
Please join the Andover High School Building Committee and project team on Monday, August 21st at 7:00 PM in the Memorial Hall Library for our next community forum.
The forum will focus on the following:
– Project Goals & Existing Building Deficiencies
– Overview of Past Studies & Project Options Considered
– Overview of Project Scope Under Consideration (with a strong focus on sports lighting)
– Introduction of Building Massing Models
The project team and Committee will be available to answer any questions from the public as it relates to the project. Additionally, an updated model of the site and building massing will be there for the community to view.
We hope to see you there, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the project!
The AHS Building Committee met on Tuesday August 8th beginning at 7:50AM. The meeting began with a discussion and vote on a warrant article requesting an additional $1.3M in Schematic Design funds, with a recommendation for the Select Board to call a Special Town Meeting to consider the warrant article. Chairman Mark Johnson also informed the Committee that the Town Manager and his staff are on track to share their financial analysis this upcoming September. The remainder of the meeting was comprised of a discussion of the site plan design and continued discussion and votes regarding potential scope adds/deducts related to athletics.
Wayne Puglisi, Andover’s Athletic Director, gave a brief overview of existing conditions and of the desired athletic program to be supported by the project. Mr. Puglisi detailed the utilization of the existing fields (week and weekend), space limitations (lack of space for practices including for the marching band), and the potential benefits of adding sports lights to project. Mr. Puglisi was complimentary of the Town’s field maintenance staff, and discussed the use of the field house and rental of off-site space for existing programs.
In regards to the lights, Mr. Puglisi clarified that current September sports activities are limited to the hours of approximately 3:15PM (after school) to about 5:30PM, and this becomes earlier as winter months approach and daylight diminishes. Field lighting would allow more time for field use, and allow all AHS sports activities to remain on site, versus taking place off the high school campus current. (For example, the boy’s soccer program uses Wood Hill fields because there is not enough field space on the AHS campus.) Mr. Puglisi explained the various benefits that would result from expanding the plateau field and utilizing artificial turf, including expanded playing time and use uninterrupted by weather and need for field rest.
After discussion, the Committee unanimously voted to:
Maintain artificial turf in the project for the multi-sports field along Shawsheen Rd. (as currently reflected in base scope)
Expand the plateau field to a competition-sized field with artificial turf (estimated add of $2.435M)
The committee decided to revisit the topics of sports lighting and the skate park at the next meeting, allowing for additional public input, including at the 8/21/23 community forum.
Cathy Offenberg of Arcadis Group, the landscape architect for the project, and Sam Gregorioof TEC, the traffic engineer for the project, gave a joint presentation to the Committee outlining existing conditions and the preliminary site layout. James Liebman of HMFH kicked off the conversation by emphasizing that site design is an iterative process, and the diagrams shown are in no way final. Cathy outlined the various design principals (example: separate bus & car traffic) and feedback received from stakeholders to date.
The meeting was adjourned earlier than anticipated to allow participation of additional Committee members, so these conversations will be continued at the next AHS Building Committee meeting scheduled for 8/24/23.