EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 2, 2014

Phillips Academy eyes $11M wellness center

School aims to break ground on Andover campus this fall

(Continued)

The medical center will be the first new building constructed on the campus since the Gelb Science Center went up in 2004.

School officials are currently going through the town approval process. As a nonprofit educational entity, Phillips is seeking a waiver from the town’s application fee of 25 cents per square foot of proposed space, or about $4,200. The request has raised the eyebrows of several Planning Board members who have questioned whether other schools have received similar waivers for construction projects in the past.

“We are requesting a waiver per the educational use category of the new building,” Muench said in an email. “Merrimack College, local schools, churches and other such institutions request similar waivers from the Planning Board.”

Meanwhile, Planning Board members last month discussed a 12-month demolition delay instituted in May 2013 for the Merrill House, which is located on the proposed medical center site.

According to Muench, the Andover Preservation Commission considers the existing residence historically significant and voted unanimously to enact the demolition delay law.

“The commission planned on exploring if anyone was interested in purchasing and moving the house, and we would entertain a discussion with any interested parties,” he said. “To date, we have not been contacted by anyone and have not assigned a sale price.”

Muench added that moving a house is a “difficult and lengthy process, requiring an experienced firm to evaluate the logistics of the current site and the proposed final location.” Permits from Andover Inspectional Services would be required and numerous utility lines would need to be dropped in coordination with the power company and affected property owners, he said.

In addition to bringing modern health care to the campus, plans for the new medical center call for sustainability features, including a green roof and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Muench said the flat roof will have plants on it that help cut heating and cooling costs while also reducing runoff.

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