During the Andover High School Building Committee meeting on 7/13/2023, the project team and Committee continued discussions on the potential cost-saving measures and added scope items that were previously reviewed on 6/29/2023. A detailed recap of each item can be found within the “Updates from the 6/29/2023 Building Committee Meeting” Latest News post.
HMFH Architects also provided an overview of the proposed Schematic Design (SD) workplan, outlining the schedule of topics of discussions for each upcoming AHS Building Committee Meeting. HMFH noted that the proposed timeline on the decision points are subject to change depending on when the Committee feels that adequate information has been provided to prompt a decision.
The Committee and project team reviewed each potential cost-saving measure and added scope item currently under review; however, strongly focused on the following:
Purchase of Solar Panels — $17,246,000 ($ 9,755,000 ground mounted, $7,491,000 roof mounted)
At the prior meeting (6/29/2023), Janet Nicosia, Facilities Director and Building Committee member, informed the Committee that in lieu of including solar panels within the project, which would increase the project cost, there is also an option of providing solar energy to the future building via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
This essentially means that solar energy would still be provided to the building; however, through solar panels not under ownership by the Town. On 6/29, the Committee requested feedback from the community and town experts prior to making a decision. Since that time, the Committee received correspondence from Joyce Losick-Yang, Director of Sustainability and Energy for the Town of Andover, indicating PPAs are ideal for municipalities as they save on operating costs, limit maintenance/upgrade costs, prevent additional energy costs if the system goes down (i.e. lighting strike), etc. The Committee also heard from Amy Latva-Kokko with Andover Green Advisory Board (AGAB) during the 7/13/2023 meeting who indicated that in other projects AGAB has previously voted in favor of using PPAs in lieu of purchasing solar panels directly.
Based on the information provided, including input by the community, town experts and the project team, the AHS Building Committee unanimously voted to move forward with a PPA for solar energy on the project in lieu of purchasing solar panels directly through the project.
Heavy Timber Structure — $7,556,000
As requested during the last AHS Building Committee meeting on 6/29/2023, the project team will be following up with approximate costs to reduce the this option from 40% of the building’s structure to 10-15%. The Committee also requested that the project team confirm what percentage this would be of the building’s overall superstructure cost. The project team will follow up with additional information on this topic to help inform the Committee’s decision, with the benefits of reduced carbon footprint, biophilic design, and aesthetics being weighted against cost.
Full-Sized Turf Field on the “Plateau” — $2,435,000
The “plateau” area behind the existing AHS field house is currently a natural turf practice area and undersized for athletic competitions. Consideration is being given to expanding the field size to allow full functionality, including competitions, along with providing ADA accessibility.
When previously discussed (6/29/23), it was requested that HMFH Architects confirm that expanding the existing plateau field is feasible due to the close proximity to the adjacent wetlands. HMFH confirmed that field is beyond the 50-foot wetlands buffer and can be expanded to allow for a full sports field.
In weighing costs, the Committee requested that project team advise as what savings could be realized by considering natural turf field in lieu of artificial turf at this location. Additionally, there was a request to advise on the width of the proposed ADA ramp to the field to ensure there would be sufficient access for a pickup truck/mower to allow for maintenance. The project team will follow up with additional information on this topic to help inform the Committee’s decision.
Skate Park — $4,710,000
Andrew Flanagan, Town Manager, and Building Committee member noted that rebuilding or maintaining a skate park on the AHS/West Middle site may not make the most sense for the community. The Town will be reviewing alternative locations for a skate park and anticipates having more information on this topic for the 8/8/2023 AHS Building Committee meeting.
Sports Lighting — $5,086,000
Options for sports lighting at lower level of investment were discussed during the last AHS Building Committee meeting on 6/29/2023. It was requested that HMFH Architects provide pricing information to provide infrastructure only (conduits and wiring) to all fields, to the multiuse sports field only, and the cost of using solar powered lights. If only the infrastructure were to be provided through the project, the Town could then considering provide lights in the future, outside of the AHS project scope/budget. The project team will follow up with additional information on this topic to help inform the Committee’s decision.
Additional & Material Considerations
As it relates to the potential cost-saving measures, Mark Johnson, AHS Building Committee Chair, noted that the Committee will be setting up tours of various buildings within Andover and of Saugus Middle High School to review interior/exterior materials such as wood timber structure, terrazzo flooring, polished concrete flooring, metal panels, wood veneer/rain screens, patterned brick alternatives, etc.