The Andover High School Building Committee Meeting on 6/14/2023 began with an introduction by Chairman Mark Johnson. Mr. Johnson confirmed the selected “New Campus with Auditorium” design approach – hereafter referred to as the “new school” – was accepted as the final recommended option by the Select Board at their June 12th meeting. This final option had also been affirmed by the School Committee on April 6th.
As the project proceeds in the Schematic Design (SD) phase, Mr. Johnson acknowledged the challenges of managing total project cost while the Town works on a parallel path to analyze metrics influencing future project funding and the potential financial impact to Andover residents.
The project team shared a PowerPoint presentation involving the following topics:
- Consideration of potential space and cost savings from reducing academic wing to 1,800 student design enrollment,
- Review of current project square footage vs. MSBA baseline, and explanation of overages,
- Review of potential costs, including construction and reimbursement, if the MSBA were to partner in building AHS at one of multiple points in the future, and
- Review of considerations related to maintaining the existing high school if a project is delayed.
Each of these four items is described in more detail below:
- Consideration of potential space and cost savings from reducing academic wing to 1,800 student design enrollment: HMFH presented a preliminary exercise showing an estimated total project cost savings of $10M could be achieved by reducing design enrollment from 1,900 to 1,800 students. AHS staff discussed impacts to current educational delivery due to the existing school well-exceeding the 85% state standard utilization rate for an efficient and functional utilization of space. The SBC emphasized the need to accommodate a minimum of 50-years worth of students while maintaining flexibility for future additional academic expansion. After discussion, there was general consensus by the building committee that making a change to design enrollment was not advisable, and the SBC declined to vote on a change.
- Review of current project square footage vs. MSBA baseline, and explanation of overages: HMFH reviewed slides comparing the design of the new school to the MSBA baseline space summary template. The project team noted that MSBA projects always involve a process of justifying spaces exceeding the MSBA space baseline using the District’s Education Plan, and MSBA typically increases reimbursable space as a result. HMFH noted 45% of the current overage is due to the existing AHS Field House, a feature which the MSBA would not include in any new school. An additional 13% of the overage is related to the Auditorium, which is currently scoped to prove equivalency to the current Collins Center, and 4.5% is due to the inclusion of space for AndoverTV and related academic programming. The field house, auditorium and AndoverTV spaces are not just academic, and will continue to have a community use function in the design of the new school. HMFH also walked through areas where academic space exceeds the MSBA baseline and described in detail how these spaces are responsive to current academic programming.
- Review of potential costs, including construction and reimbursement, if the MSBA were to partner in building AHS at one of multiple points in the future: PMA reviewed a high-level analysis performed by the project team to demonstrate a potential range of the Town’s share of total project costs if the Town were to delay the project in the hope of someday being accepted into partnership with the MSBA. This exercise was performed to respond to commonly asked questions related to overall project cost as the Town works to determine how it can fund the project. The project team clarified the earliest MSBA acceptance scenario is likely late 2030. PMA explained the various assumptions included in the exercise and the associated uncertainty involved. PMA explained that this information should be used to aid the Town in their greater financial modeling inclusive of borrowing costs, etc.
- Review of considerations related to maintaining the existing high school if a project is delayed: Conversations regarding potentially delaying the project have led to questions regarding the cost of maintaining the existing Andover HS in the meantime. Janet Nicosia, Director of Facilities for the Town of Andover and Andover Public Schools, presented recent images and reports compiled by outside consultant NV5 and others overviewing existing conditions at AHS. Cost figures were shown for various items, and Janet explained that providing a cost estimate is difficult since it is impossible to forecast exactly what will be needed. Additionally, it is difficult to predict if or how required upgrades could trigger requirements for further upgrades (for example, sprinklers may be required to meet Fire Prevention Code. Also discussed ADA & Building/Energy Code update considerations). Ms. Nicosia noted the age of the mechanical systems (past expected useful life) and longer-term considerations such as the roof warranty having 5-years left. She also discussed accessibility issues while showing images of the existing site roadways and sidewalks, and provided an estimated cost to install modular classrooms with associated utilities.
Follow these links to find the project team’s presentation of items #1 through #3 and the presentation related to maintenance costs and the impact of postponing the project (item #4 above).
Meetings are also recorded by AndoverTV and are the replay is available in their meeting archive.