Updates from the 6/29/23 Building Committee Meeting

The Andover High School Building Committee Meeting on 6/29/2023 primarily focused on decisions the Committee will be evaluating through Schematic Design. The decisions include both potential cost-saving measures and added-scope items.

In anticipation of developing the Schematic Design workplan, the project team sought clarification as to which of these decisions do not warrant further exploration. While there was no obligation to decide on any of these items, the Building Committee discussed each and eliminated certain potential added scope items as mentioned below.  

Potential Cost-Saving Measures

During the Schematic Design phase, the project team and Committee will explore various ways of reducing the project budget while still meeting the education plan and overall design intent.

The 6/29/23 meeting included discussion of three initial areas of cost-saving measures for the Committee’s review (slides 10 through 13 of the meeting presentation):

1. Material Reductions

HMFH Architects explained that there are approximately $18,000,000 in potential savings by using alternative interior and exterior materials opposed to the materials currently included within the base project cost.

HMFH noted that if the Committee would like to pursue this option further, the exterior of the building would be primarily a masonry façade with fewer “high-end” features such as metal panels, rain screens, curtainwalls/storefronts. HMFH indicated that masonry facades are not considered as aesthetically appealing; however, they have lower maintenance costs, longer longevity, and are more durable.

For the interior of the building, alternative materials will be considered, including use of polished concrete rather than terrazzo for floors, or the use of terrazzo in only limited areas, such as those with high-traffic in most need of durability.

2. Natural Turf in lieu of Artificial Turf

HMFH indicated that if the Committee were to pursue natural turf in lieu of artificial turf for the multi-use sports field currently planned in front of the new school, the estimated savings would be roughly $1,500,000 to the project budget. Discussion included an explanation of the process of installing natural turf on the site, including preparation to mitigate existing wet conditions, which brings the cost differential between natural and turf surfaces to less than might have been expected.

HMFH noted that some of the disadvantages of installing natural turf versus artificial turf include the need to periodically close natural turf for rest periods to prevent damage, higher maintenance costs, the inability to be used during certain weather conditions, and requirements for irrigation. Additionally, natural turf does not meet the Athletic Directors design goals.

3. Refinement of Space Summary

Following the presentation of the preliminary Feasibility Cost information in late March and early April 2023, the project team has met with Andover Public Schools (APS) educators and other school personnel to refine the Space Summary for the project, and identified ~19,000 gross square feet that can be removed from the project while still meeting the educational plan.

This was achieved through consolidation of spaces, adjusting space sizes, and other scrutiny, which has yielded a deduction of $14,500,000 from the $480,847,000 preliminary total project budget.

The project team will continue to meet with APS during Schematic Design to continue refinement of the Space Summary program. HMFH noted each 1,000 square foot reduction provides roughly $1,150,000 in savings.

Potential Added-Scope Items

The 6/29/23 meeting also included discussions surrounding the potential added-scope items that are not currently included in the preliminary base total project cost, but were priced during the Feasibility Design stage to allow for additional consideration. Ongoing discussion of each topic and feedback from the community during Schematic Design will inform the Building Committee’s decision to include any of these items in the project budget (described in detail within slides 14-24 of the meeting presentation).

1. Solar Panels – $17,246,000 ($9,755,000 ground mounted, $7,491,000 roof mounted)

    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.

    The project team noted that the building structure will be designed to accommodate solar panels whether purchased by Andover and included as part of the project budget or purchased by a third-party and installed through a Power Purchase Agreement.

    The Committee requested feedback from the Andover community before making a determination on this added scope item, and deferring this vote until the next meeting on 7/13/2023.

    2. Heavy Timber Structure – $7,556,000

    HMFH Architects noted this item includes providing exposed wood for 40% of the building’s structure, which can improve the aesthetic of the building and in some cases, the learning environment for students.

    The Committee indicated this is a substantial cost which could be achieved using alternative design solutions (i.e. millwork), and requested that the project team provide cost information to reduce the heavy timber structure to 10-15% to help inform their decision.

    3. Porous Pavement – $6,320,000 at surface parking

    HMFH indicated that their civil engineer consultant, Samiotes, provided a memo indicating that the porous pavement is not advisable on this site due to the highwater table and existing site conditions.

    The Committee unanimously voted to remove this item from further exploration.

    4. Plateau Field (Additional Turf Field) – $2,435,000

    HMFH explained that the base project cost includes providing ADA access to the existing plateau field, which is currently set on a hill and is not sized to adequately support athletics. This added cost item would involve providing an expanded artificial turf field that supports athletics and ADA access.

    Due to the close proximity to the adjacent wetlands, the Committee requested that project team review if this option is feasible prior to exploring it further.

    5. Skate Park – $4,710,000

    The Andover High School Building Committee Chair, Mark Johnson noted that per discussions with the Town, a new skate park may be planned for elsewhere in Town rather than continue to be part of the Andover High site. This item will be revisited during future meetings.

    6. Parking Garage – $43,060,000

    HMFH provided a reminder a parking garage was priced because it would help maximize use of the crowded site, allow more field space, and provide environmental benefits including a reduction in sanding/salting needs and the amount of impervious area. HMFH also noted that the number of parking space would not differ whether a parking garage is included in the project or if typical surface parking (included in base project cost) is provided.

    The Committee unanimously voted to remove this item from further exploration, primarily based on cost.

    7. Sports Lighting – $5,086,000

    HMFH indicated that the base project cost does not include any additional lighting for the new fields, only maintaining the existing lighting at Lovely Field.

    HMFH noted that if sports lighting were to be provided, the lights would be designed to prevent light pollution on neighboring properties to avoid impacts to abutters.

    The Committee requested that due to the cost and existing site conditions, the project team provide pricing for installing only minimal infrastructure that could enable lighting in the future if the Town were to undertake a separate project to do so.

    8. Upgraded Mechanical Plant – $17,341,000 Air Source Heat Pump | $41,832,000 Geothermal

    The base project cost includes a highly efficient variable refrigerant flow system. An upgraded mechanical plant would allow for higher efficiencies and possible renewable initiatives.

    The Town and project team will be completing a Life Cycle Cost analysis to better understand the benefits of using an air source heat pump or geothermal system which will better inform this decision during Schematic Design.

    9. Sustainable Irrigation – $1,187,000 Rainwater Harvesting | $311,000 Groundwater Wells

    This added scope item includes providing rainwater harvesting collected in underground cisterns or using groundwater wells to irrigate natural grass/planting beds in lieu of potable water.

    The project team will provide further information during Schematic Design to help inform the Committee’s decision.

    10. Enclosed Walkway – $2,884,000

    HMFH indicated that the base project cost includes a covered walkway from the new building to the Field House. As an added-scope item, a fully enclosed walkway between the two structures could be provided. In addition to comfort, security and safety concerns will be considered.

    The project team will provide further information during Schematic Design to help inform the Committee’s decision.

    The full meeting presentation can be found here. To view a replay of the meeting, please visit the AndoverTV meeting archive.