Updates from 8/8/2023 Building Committee Meeting

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:

  1. Maintain artificial turf in the project for the multi-sports field along Shawsheen Rd. (as currently reflected in base scope)
  2. 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.

The full meeting presentation can be found here. The community is encouraged to review the materials and send feedback to the Committee at andoverhighbuildingproject@andoverma.us.

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