Updates from 7/27/2023 Building Committee Meeting

The AHS Building Committee Meeting on 7/27/2023 primarily focused on building layout and massing to better define the interior configurations and exterior shape of the new building. Building massing relates to the size, shape, and volume of the building, while building layout is associated with its orientation on the project site.  

During the meeting, HMFH Architects presented three preliminary building massing configurations, each of which do not interfere with the current footprint of the existing high school. HMFH also provided scaled building models for each configuration that was reviewed.

The massings were intended to solicit conversation around the pros and cons of each configuration, not as options from which there should a single selected configuration. The design team intends to take feedback received and reflect it in updated building designs for further consideration.

Below is a brief overview of each massing configuration presented for discussion. The full meeting presentation includes draft floor plans corresponding with each configuration.

Massing & configuration #1

Configuration #1 includes an academic wing that stretches plan East to West facing Shawsheen Road, and a central spine that connects academics to the shared community spaces including the gymnasium and auditorium. In this configuration, there is clear separation between the community and academic spaces, allowing the academic side of the building to be easily closed off, providing community access to the gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria areas. The pods in the academic wing are all mostly on a single level except for the 9th Grade Academy, which is split between the third and fourth floors. The academic wing also has the most optimal North/South orientation which allows for more daylight into the classrooms.

Massing & configuration #2

In Configuration #2, the academic and community spaces are more centrally located and integrated throughout the building. The Western position of the building includes two academic wings adjacent to the gymnasium/athletics, and the East contains a third academic wing that abuts the auditorium/performing arts. Within this configuration, the pods in the academic wings are divided between two floors.

Massing & configuration #3

In Configuration #3, the building is split East and West by a central spine that contains shared spaces such as the media center and cafeteria. The Eastern portion of the building includes two academic wings, to which access could be restricted during community events in the Western wing where athletics and performing arts are contained. Similar to Configuration #1, the academic pods are mostly on a single level (except for the 9th Grade Academy), and the classrooms have the most optimal North/South orientation allow for more daylight and views.

Following the review of each configuration, Mark Johnson, AHS Building Committee Chair allowed time for the Committee, project team, and community members to review the building models and provide feedback.

Some Committee members pointed out the value of having community spaces and academic spaces completely separate while others saw integrating the spaces as a benefit. There also appeared to be a consensus that a variation in building volume/massing for wing along Shawsheen Road would provide a more aesthetically appealing look, which was echoed by community members.

The configurations presented are preliminary and intended to solicit feedback. The project team and Committee will continue discussions surrounding building layout and massing throughout Schematic Design with input from the Andover community..

In addition to a massing discussion, the Committee also heard from Wess Murphy, Andover TV Executive Director, who provided an overview of what Andover TV does for the community at large and for Andover students, how they operate, and their connection with the high school.

Wess informed the Committee that Andover TV is a nonprofit local access television system that serves Andover residents. Their main studio has been located in Andover High School since the 1980s and has a shared use by both community members and high school students for various program offerings. Caitlin Brown, Andover High School Principal and AHS Building Committee member noted during the meeting that the school values their partnership with Andover TV, and described the types of classes AHS students are able to take in the existing studio space.

At the end of the meeting, the project team and Committee briefly discussed sports lighting, which is one of the potential added scope items currently under consideration. Principal Brown will be discussing the added value of having sports lighting with the Athletic Director further and will report back during the next AHS Building Committee meeting on 8/8/2023.

The full meeting presentation can be found here. It includes draft floor plans corresponding with each building massing configuration. The community is encouraged to review the materials and send feedback to the Committee at andoverhighbuildingproject@andoverma.us. Thank you in advance for your feedback!

To watch a replay of the meeting, you can find the AndoverTV recording in their meeting archive.