By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The “cafegymitorium” at Kittredge School serves three purposes: Students eat, take their physical education classes and attend assemblies in the cramped quarters.
If everything goes according to schedule, the elementary school at Main Street and Route 125 will have a new gymnasium, possibly by this time next year. Thomas Peterman, the architect who has been hired to design the gym, said the new facility will measure about 5,500 square feet.
He estimated that should be at least four times as much space as the cafegymitorium.
Principal Richard Cushing, who coined the name cafegymitorium, said the space there is so cramped that parents are usually not able to attend assemblies. Kittredge is the only school in North Andover that lacks a gym.
Peterman and the School Building Committee, which met Thursday night, have agreed to locate the gym at the rear of the school, where it will be connected to the rest of the building near the offices.
The estimated cost is $810,000. Putting the gym near the cafeteria would have cost $1,025,000 while constructing a separate building on the Osgood Street side of the school would have cost $987,000, according to Peterman’s estimates.
Peterman recommended last night that the gym be constructed with pre-engineered steel with insulated steel siding, at $45 per square feet. That works out to a total cost of $247,500, he said.
For $76 per square feet, the town could build the gym with block walls and steel trusses, Peterman said. That would result in a cost of $418,000 — most likely more than what taxpayers want to spend, he surmised.
The committee agreed. The other options were a wooden structure, at $38 per square feet and a total cost of $209,000; and pre-engineered steel with corrugated steel siding, at $35 per square foot and a total cost of $192,500.
While those options are less expensive, Peterman recommended against them because they would result in a less durable building, he said.
The committee hopes to have a proposal ready in time for the annual Town Meeting in May.
“We are on track,” said School Committee member Stanley Limpert, who heads the School Building Committee.